Anything & Everything Owner Offers Perspective On Being Your Own Boss
This is the third in the series of interviews conducted by the Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation about small business entrepreneurship in our area.
The Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation offers entrepreneurial services.
We provide one-on-one business planning assistance, training, mentoring and operational assistance to existing local small businesses and startups.
We are located on the Dabney campus and can be reached at 540.862.0936 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I recently met with Butch and Tamara Reid of Anything & Everything and The Main Street Pawn about their experiences with operating a small business. Butch was born and raised here, Tamara was born and raised here but grew up in Staunton, she later returned in 2000 to help take care of her sick mother and married Butch. It was after teaching school Butch had the opportunity in 1976 to buy a restaurant, he referred to as a “redneck beer joint”. This later led him to buy other restaurants/nightclubs in the area; the Shamrock and Oliver’s, which had occupancies of anywhere from 300 to 600 each night. He also had pawn shops in both Covington and Clifton Forge. After 14 years in the Antique Mall in Lexington he decided to move back to Covington and open Anything & Everything and The Main Street Pawn on Main Street.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become an entrepreneur?
Butch: To add and subtract. You have more money coming in than you have going out it is as simple as that. You can have all the business plans and other things you want but it is simple. Your perseverance. You are going to have all kinds of obstacles, everybody will be telling you that you shouldn’t do it making it an emotional roller coaster, sometimes you think you are the smartest person in the world and other times you think how dumb can I be trying to do this. Anybody can start a business and it’s not easy, but keeping it going from day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year, decade to decade that is the trouble.
Tamara: It does not happen overnight.
What motivates you?
Butch: Well it isn’t the money, I can tell you that. What motivates me is trying to make the business successful; you have to pour your heart and soul in to it making it your second wife or your child. It is a labor of love. I taught school for 11 years and that was 10 years too many. Being your own boss is great but it isn’t easy. The whole world has changed so much, it is a generational transformation, all retail and all business is changing, the millenniums have a completely different outlook on things; things we wanted, things we want to do and then you have the aged baby boomers who are changing the whole atmosphere of doing business and that is why a lot of people have problems. We now have a declining population and people live from paycheck to paycheck.
Tamara: A lot of people shop Amazon, they shop online so the way business is today is different than it used to be. You have to figure out what is going to work, what is going to sell and take it day by day and don’t be discouraged. You have good days and you have bad days. Always smile and always be friendly. Perseverance.
How do you generate new ideas?
Butch: I am old school. Having this in the paper will help. How do you promote yourself these days? You have the newspaper which few people seem to read, with social media things seem to get lost; I just don’t know how you promote yourself. Having this in the paper will help a whole lot. The whole world is upside down right now.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Butch: Perseverance, vision, and hard work.
What is your typical day like?
Butch: Like a roller coaster. Sometimes you are busy and sometimes you are not. I get plenty of traffic just getting money out of them is the problem. We get plenty of people. But in a locality like Covington you can’t specialize in any one thing, it just doesn’t work; you have to have something for everybody. It is such a small market you need something for everybody, that is why I named it Anything & Everything and not antiques. I also have the Main Street Pawn Shop here. We loan money on most anything of value, it is a quick way to get some quick cash for a small fee.
What brought you back here from Lexington?
Butch: Why did I relocate back to Covington? Because I saw the potential for Main Street and this absolutely wonderful building that I have. Main Street is just 3 to 4 businesses of becoming viable. In Lexington I worked 7 days a week with 2 days off a year; Thanksgiving and Christmas. I had over 200 dealers I had to keep happy. I loved it and it was fun but it quit being fun plus I am 70 years old. There is potential in Covington and if anyone is interested in opening a business in Covington, come talk to me. I have some great ideas to help you be successful. You have this building right here on the corner, the old Cato’s building, a woman but not necessarily a woman, but a woman with business sense and knows what they are doing, with a work ethic and a good idea of what is geared towards women, I mean with Peebles, Sears, Merle Norman and myself, it is there, the potential is there, you could have a viable business. You are not going to get rich by any means but you will make a living. I am doing good here. I had a bad week last week but this week has been good. Anytime you are in business for yourself it is a roller coaster, it is up and down. You have two emotions when you are in business for yourself: when the business is good, you worry about it getting bad and when business is bad, you just plain worry. And that is the truth!
Tamara: This is his retirement store, he started in Covington and he wanted to end in Covington.
What does Anything & Everything mean?
Butch: It is self descriptive. If you need anything at all please come down. We also buy and sell. We buy! Most days I have people come in with things they want to sell. We do buy things! You can turn your valuables in to cash.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Butch: Dead. I am 70 years old, I just don’t know. I will work until I die. I cannot be like these other people and retire. In Lexington I had retirees all the time come in the store just to talk to have something to do, I am not going to be like that. I just have the passion. When you go in to business for yourself you have to have the passion. If you can take your passion and turn it in to a business you can be successful. It isn’t easy, being in a rural area isn’t easy.