What is your biggest challenge right now?

The finances. The jump in the minimum wage has followed us. (When we opened) the minimum wage was $7.50 and it’s $12 starting in January. It has been difficult for us to take care of people have who have a little experience or have been with us for a couple of years. It’s hard for us to compensate them in a way that seems fitting. We always want to pay people well and take care of people the best we could.

We are in a small town, there’s only so much traffic, there are only so many people we can bring it. We are just trying to find ways to stay relevant other than what we’re doing now. We’re constantly trying to find other markets so we can … draw people from further out.

State taxes and payroll taxes, all that sort of stuff is just inconsistent. It continues to go up for us all the time. As well as the cost of goods, everything is rising.

Who influenced you in business the most?

I don’t know, we kind of jumped into this with no experience at all. My wife and I both have science degrees. I worked as carpenter and my wife worked as many different things. We opened this store, basically, because we loved the town and didn’t want to leave. The opportunity just sort of fell in our laps to try and do something with this building when it became vacant. I guess circumstances influenced us the most. We just wanted something more and thought maybe if no one else was going to do it, we can do it.


When we first moved here, we came from coastal areas and we thought we would remain there. We thought … we would move in five years and try to move closer to coast. The town just grew on us; the people are fantastic, it’s such an eclectic town. Over our time being here, the town slowly shut down. There used to be an ice cream shop and a grocery store and a book shop and an art gallery. (The general store) used to be a hardware store. It all just closed and we thought, “we’re not going to raise our kids in a ghost town, we should just get out of here I guess.” But we loved the town enough, so we thought we could move or try to fix it. It was the people in the town that made us want to stay and kind of fight for it.

How do you overcome obstacles in the business?

My wife and I pour a glass of wine and sit and talk a lot after the kids go to sleep. (laughs) We do have some resources, people that we trust, that we’ve come to know through business. It’s something we talk about; we should get a consortium of general store owners and (talk about) what works for (them).

Just dig in your heels and persevere. We’re not giving up, it’s just figuring out how to keep going forward. A lot sacrifices in our time, we have four kids and we try to really focus on our family. Sometimes things have to wait at home if I have to cover someone here. One of the biggest obstacles is covering for employees who have families and spouses.

Our employees and our staff help us overcome a lot of obstacles in our own personal stuff. These guys always step up. We always tell (our employees) “we can’t pay you great but we’re flexible.” I think we do get back into it what we put in. We don’t question people (when they need to take work off).

What’s your biggest misconception about being in business?


That you must have a lot of money. We get a lot of comments. “You guys must be shoveling money into the bank.” That does not turn out to be the truth. We kind of (joke) and say that (the store) is a conduit for money; money comes in and it goes immediately back out. A lot of people have a misconception I think that this big shiny red building full of stuff means that we must be looking at a yacht. How much money moves in and out each week is shocking. I have a lot more respect for small business owners, especially retail and grocery. The Common Market (in Union), those guys are amazing. I totally respect anyone that is doing something of this size or smaller or larger. It’s like, how do they pull it off?

Where will you and your business be in five years?

Right here. We’re not giving up for sure. We’re not even going to lift our heads for 10 years. We’re just going to put our heads down and do the best we can.

A little bit of expansion. Definitely adding to the business model, trying to get other revenue streams to keep up with the changes and any financial burdens that we have. If we can make a little more here and a little more there and create a couple of jobs for teenagers, (that’s a good thing).

We try to change with the customer’s needs. People always come in and say “you know what you should do?” If enough people say (that), we pay attention. We’re going to be putting in more seating and an ice cream scoop shack. We’ll sell lobsters. We dabbled in lobster last summer and it went well. We’re constantly thinking of things we can do to keep people from leaving Washington, one, and get people to come to Washington.

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