Update − August 6, 2010:
Unfortunately, Carroway’s General Store has fallen victim to the economic pressure of the times and is now closed. The windows are not boarded and the external appearance remains essentially the same as what you see in this post and on Corndancer.com.
This story had its beginnings on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. To see other pictures of Carroway’s and get in on the start of the story, click here, a very cool thing to do.
A succession of owners since 1926 have kept structural and equipment changes to a minimum at Carroway’s General Store in Ida, Louisiana. The store started business as Perry Mercantile. Two years after they started the business, the Perrys sold the store to the Carroway’s who operated it for forty years. Since the store left the hands of the Carroways, it has gone through several ownership changes. Most of the time, when a business changes hands a lot, it tends to lose its original identity, pandering to the current ego-in-charge. Carroway’s has not suffered that fate.
The current owners, Phyllis and Grady Crady are continuing that honored and proven tradition of keeping things the same as much as possible. Phyllis is quick to point out that the retail fixtures, shelving and some of the old business machines and hardware are vintage. Being a modern business, the store uses modern business equipment, but the vintage equipment is kept in plain sight. Customer service is definitely and delightfully “out of the past.”
Carroway’s shelves are stocked with a big variety of merchandise ranging from groceries and household supplies to hardware and antiques, the latter of which sometimes bears some explanation. Phyllis Crady says store visitors sometimes have misconceptions about what they find in the store. “I hear the question, ‘ … is this a museum? … ‘, I quickly tell them that this is a store and what you see is for sale. For that matter, so is the store.”
Carroway’s is more than a store. It is also a first class restaurant with a loyal following originating locally and from a fifty-mile radius of Ida. Customers from Shreveport and Bossier City, Louisiana; Atlanta, Texas, and Texarkana USA show up on a regular basis for breakfast, lunch, and supper, (OK dinner if you insist).
As if a fine general store and a first class restaurant were not enough, the Cradys reestablished the Ida Barbershop, yes a real live barbershop in the store. The barber, JoJo Norton is in the shop every Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. and during the week by appointment before 9:00 a.m.
It is probably not a “discovery” to the Cradys that keeping valued traditions alive and well is good for business. In fact, from all outward appearances, it just comes naturally to them. It is said that marketing is “finding out what people want and giving them more of it … and finding out what they don’t like and giving them less of it.” It appears that a succession of Carroway’s proprietors were and are in tune with that concept. Works for me.
Thanks for dropping by,
Filed under: Behind the Scenes, but wait, there's more | Tagged: barber shop, Business, Carroway Restaurant, Carroway's, Carroway's front porch, Carroway's General Store, Carroway's Ida Louisiana, Carroway's of Ida, Carroway's porch, Carroway's restaurant, Earl Long, General Store, GeneralStore, Ida LA, Ida Louisiana, Jimmie Davis, JoJo Norton Barbershop | 5 Comments »