Written by Amy Henderson
The Graham Chamber introduces the new logo for the Shop Graham First campaign. The kick-off will begin on Friday, Nov. 1 and will run through Monday, Dec. 20. Look forward to more details.
When traveling down Graham's main streets you will find a retail business on almost every corner. Making up most of Graham's downtown businesses, the local retail industry has supported our economy through providing avenues for visitors and community members to invest locally.
In 2012 gross retail sales were almost $60 million for the Young County region. The local retail industry employs almost 750 workers with a total annual payroll over $4.4 million. In the county there are over 125 businesses operating in the industry from supermarkets and car dealers to the classic retail merchant.*
Among the local retail merchants is Boaz Department store. A family owned and operated business since 1921, Boaz has stood as a pillar in Graham's downtown for over 60 years. Although Boaz has had many years of success, the original Graham business still faces challenges that many retailers face. “Being an independent retailer in a small town has a number of challenges,” says Boaz owner Gina Winn Donnell. “One has to be a jack of all trades in many ways.”
Most small town retail business owners are more than salesmen they also play the role of the bookkeeper, advertising agent, manager, and sometimes the custodian. Because the owner has to wear so many hats their time is often stretched thin, placing an even greater need for competent, reliable employees.
Another local retailer is The Vineyard Branch. For sixteen years The Vineyard Branch's doors have been open to the Graham community. Owner Sherry Massey says the retail industry differs from others because “it brings a variety of businesses to the forefront and enables our town to become a leader in offering its residents diverse places to shop.”
Massey believes the following factors have contributed to their success, “the hometown feel as well as, showing up on time, keeping the hours that are posted along with diverse products and keeping that product rotated.”
It is this work ethic and dedication that is at the heart of every successful business. The future is bright and to move forward the retail industry must work together to create one united voice.
“Our local economy has an effect on our business in many ways,” say Donnell. “Our local businesses are all linked together, we dove tail, what effects one can affect another, for good or bad.”
Home to America's largest Downtown Square, Graham has the potential to become one of Texas' weekend shopping destinations. At the front of that movement, the Graham Chamber of Commerce is working to create a forum for local retailers to become united.
To help promote the local retail industry the Graham Chamber of Commerce is launching a shop local campaign titled “Shop Graham First”. The campaign's initiative is to help encourage visitors and community members to shop local and to communicate that the decision to shop Graham first is not just an investment in Graham's businesses but an investment into the growth and prosperity of our community.
* Information provided by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts and The Labor Market and Career Information Department of The Texas Workforce Commission.