Shop With The Little Guys: Supporting The Small Business

I have had a couple of recent experiences where I did business or patronized a small business and was glad I did so. My father believed in supporting the small business or “little man” and he set that example. I thought about that the other day as I was at one business so I decided that would be a good topic for my article this month.

My girlfriend and I were out riding my motorcycle the other day and stopped into a business near Ringgold , GA (Southern Traditions 9534 Highway 41) to look at some chairs and a swing. While we were there we decided to get something to drink as it was a very warm day. At first we thought we could just wait until we got up the road where there was a chain convenience store. I reconsidered and told her that we needed to give the business to “the little man” She looked confused for a second and I explained that this store was locally owned not owned by some big corporation and that I would rather give my business to “the little guy”. She readily agreed and we took our drinks to the counter. A pleasant looking bearded man wearing bib overalls greeted me as the cashier rung up my purchase.. He thanked us for our business and asked if we were from “around here”. I told him we were and I asked if he was the owner. He replied he and Catoosa County were. I laughed and told him I knew the feeling about property tax. It was pleasant conversation and I instantly felt glad we had made the decision to patronize the “ little guy”.

Another smaller non-chain business that I have had frequent pleasant experiences with is Floyd Hardware at 10040 Dayton Pike in scenic Soddy Daisy, TN. When I walk into this store I am hit by memories of a hardware store in Cleveland that my dad patronized (except there are no radiator hoses or fly strips hanging from the rafters). There is usually a cat lounging about near the front door and I have always been genially greeted as I come in the door. I have never had to wait for help as an employee always asks if they can help me find something. Most of the time I need their help. Whether its an oddball bolt for my 1940 Ford pickup or other hardware item Floyd Hardware usually has it. Especially if you are in Soddy or Sale Creek Floyd Hardware is fairly close to you and you are helping out a local business.

Although it’s a little out of Chattanooga Webb Brothers Rafting Service and Store located at 3708 TN-30 Reliance TN, offers raft and funyak rentals. They will haul you up the river in the infamous “cattle truck “ which is really kind of fun or a school bus. I read a review where someone was “uneasy” about the truck ride. Hey, you are about to get in a mountain stream fed river with rapids! Live a little. I always thought the cattle truck ride was part of the fun. At the store you can buy camping or picnic supplies or get a souvenir t-shirt, check out historical artifacts or get some gas. The store has the old type pumps and Texaco sign and many people take a picture of their vehicle there at the retro pumps. The store opened in 1936 and was started by Oliver and Harold Webb in 1936 and is still owned by the Webb family. It was originally a general store and gas station. Oliver Webb was soon appointed Post Master and part of the store was turned into a post office. Eventually there was a library there also. The post office closed a few years ago due to budget cuts. Just a short walk across the river bridge there is the historic Watchman’s House with rooms that can be rented out but there are only three rooms so call for reservations. The next time you are in the Polk County area take time to tour Webb Brothers store. Hang out and listen to the river as it flows past and enjoy the scenic view.

For a good drive to Webb Brothers take Hwy 64 from Cleveland then just before you get to the Ocoee River take 30 East over to Reliance. It’s a really pretty motorcycle ride. Go check out Webb’s Store and the surrounding Reliance area . I’m sure you wont be disappointed.

My next small business ”discovery” is Main Stage Music in Dayton, TN.. Fittingly we had just eaten at a “mom and pop” family owned restaurant in Dayton (Dayton Coffee Shop) and my girlfriend saw a music store just up the street. She had an antique Fender bass guitar she wanted to sell. The store was closed that day but she called the store later. We ended up taking her guitar to the store where we met the owner, Brad Putt. (No we didn’t ask him if he ever catches any grief over his name)..Brad is a super nice guy who greeted us warmly. He did a professional evaluation of the guitar and gave us some information we did not know. He spent a good amount of time that day and another day when we returned to sell him the guitar. We became Facebook friends and followed his recent exploits in Las Vegas. But back to the store. I must admit I know almost nothing about musical instruments, speakers, amps, etc. But to me the place looked like it had a very well stocked inventory. It was spacious and just had a good feel or “vibe” to the place. I found numerous comments on Google regarding this store and they were all positive. One was “Best little music store in the South”. I think that sums it up well. If you are looking for a musical instrument, musical instruction or if you just want to check out a cool store definitely try Main Stage Music in Dayton.

Okay, full disclosure on the next local business I want to publicize. I do work there. It’s Shooters Supply at 4864 Hixson Pike. Shooters Supply is a true full service gun store/indoor range with gun-smithing services on the premises. It is under new ownership by a local small businessman Larry Hopper. Mr. Hopper has renovated the range and classrooms. There are more shooting booths with improved lighting and ventilation. There is a new spacious classroom upstairs to accommodate more students of the varied firearms related classes offered .If you are a woman looking for training by a female instructor, want to get your armed security guard license, just want to get marksmanship instruction or get a permit to carry a handgun in Tennessee then Shooters Supply has classes or training for you. One super cool thing to do is shoot the Zombie Course. There is an entire section of the upstairs with rifles outfitted with lasers to take out pop up “undead”. If you want to book a cool birthday party for a Walking Dead fan or just something fun for the kids (or you) then this is it.

Stop in to look at the guns or shoot on the in-door range at Shooters Supply. The staff are shooters not just “gun store commandos” and are glad to help and answer questions. Come and see us at Shooters Supply and Indoor range for all your firearms needs and just to have some fun.

These local businesses are some I personally have had dealings with and do business with. I really try to support the “little man” and local business and hope you will also.

Mark Haskins