VOICES: Good for business

Despite economy, new store opens in Barryton

This story is part of Voices of our community, which is designed to tell you something new about your neighbors. Participants are chosen at random for the interviews, in which we strive to share a portion of their lives with you, the reader. Look for this series every Monday.

OPEN: Jack Williams (right) stands outside his new business, Barryton Variety, with his brother, Jerry. The two opened the shop’s doors on Saturday. Williams is a long-time businessman in the area and enjoys owning a business in the village. (Pioneer photo/Kyle Leppek)

BARRYTON — Clean white light emanated from florescent light bulbs at a store in Barryton on Saturday. The crisp and bright light helped give the store a fresh and new feeling — mainly because it is.

Barryton Variety opened its downtown doors on Saturday to a welcoming crowd of locals and visitors. Jack Williams opened the new store in Barryton with his brother, Jerry, and their wives Polly and Lisa.

The shop is exactly as the name implies, a variety. Shoppers will find an array of products at the new store. The store’s main goal is to provide the products customers in the area need and normally traveled into other cities to get, Williams said.

Williams grew up in the area but later moved to Chicago. He came back in 1990 to settle with his family and opened up a restaurant in the community. Williams knows the community and the community knows him.

He owns the building the shop is located in and had previously had a similar business in the village. Although that business has come and gone, he knew there was still a desire in the community for the store and decided to reopen the doors earlier this year.

Now after six months of planning and three months of sweat and hard work, the business, located at 102 Northern Ave., is ready to provide the community with an assortment of goods.

Between arts and crafts supplies, household items, children’s activities and an old fashioned candy shop, the variety store has something for everyone.

With the help of employees Sam Young and Jamie Bone, Williams is ready to once again serve the community he has for more than two decades.

The Pioneer sat down with Williams and his brother, Jerry, during opening day on Saturday to ask him about owning a small business, working in the community and what visitors to the store can expect to find.

PIONEER: Why did you want to open a variety store in Barryton at this time?

WILLIAMS: (Jerry and I) had a lot of requests over the years to bring this variety store back. We had it here probably five or six years ago and it did real well. We just felt it was a good opportunity to bring it back into Barryton. We are from the community and I have owned the building for several years. This town has always been very supportive of local businesses. We both have done business in Barryton for several years and really enjoy the community.

What do you think brought the business back to the community?

WILLIAMS: I think it offers a lot of things that allows (residents) to not drive into bigger towns. With the price of gas that is certainly a benefit. I think customers always liked the atmosphere of a variety type store and we appreciate the response so far. We have had a combination of people who come up during the weekends to visit their cabins but we also have local people that come in for various necessities. We would just like to welcome people to stop in and see what we have and we are glad to be back doing business in the community.

STAFF: Jack Williams (right) stands inside his store, Barryton Variety, with his brother, Jerry (left), and their employees. Williams grew up in the area and despite a struggling economy, he is optimistic of the supporting nature of the community. (Pioneer photo/Kyle Leppek)

What is the toughest part of being a small business owner?

WILLIAMS: With the current economy, people have less disposable income than in the past and that is always in affect in retail businesses in the area.

What is the most rewarding part?

WILLIAMS: Knowing that a lot of people are happy that a business like this is in the area so they don’t have to drive quite as far. It’s knowing that we make people happy that we have opened this store. I think (owning your own business) is challenging, but yet there is a great sense of accomplishment .

Why did you choose today as the grand-opening?

WILLIAMS: People have been looking in the windows the last couple of weeks and we felt we had enough merchandise to go ahead and open the doors up. We weren’t sure of our opening date, so we wanted to make sure we had enough merchandise to make it worth while. We will still be getting more merchandise in, but we felt we had enough merchandise to open so we opened the doors today.

Being a variety store, how did you decide what to carry?

WILLIAMS: We have a pretty good idea from our past history about what sells well but we are always listening to

the customers. If there is something they want and we can get it, we will get it in for them. If our supplier carries it, we will certainly make an effort to get it in.

What type of products do you think will draw customers in the most?

WILLIAMS: Greeting cards have been very popular because they are always half off. They are quality greeting cards but they are at a very reasonable price. We also have an old-fashioned candy counter that has been very popular. We had that in our previous store and it was very popular. It’s a bulk and old-fashioned candy counter that has been a real hit with our customers.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting their own business?

WILLIAMS: My advice would be to use good financial principles, keep track of where your expenses are going and just try to really enjoy it.

The store is open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. For more information, contact the shop at (989) 382-7643.

Leave a Reply