A 50th anniversary is an amazing feat for any business, but especially for a small, local business. GG’s of Statesville has now reached that milestone and is celebrating.
GG’s, located in the heart of downtown Statesville, is hosting a 50th-anniversary celebration in conjunction with its annual Holiday Open House on Sunday from 1-5 p.m.
The store is the home of unique collections of art, frames, gifts and more from all across North Carolina — and featuring some Statesville vendors.
The owner of GG’s, Gloria Hager, has seen the store grow and evolve over the years, but she has continued to stay consistent with items for which she has a passion.
“It has really been an evolution process. It is sort of like I have gone around the circuit when starting out with gifts and books, because I love books,” Hager said. “Then we added art and framing and mostly did that and pottery, and then I added the gifts back.”
The store’s location has evolved as well.
“We were in the location across the street for about 30 years and then two years ago, a guy came by. My husband had just passed and I was so distraught … I still am, actually,” Hager said.
“But anyways, a guy walked in off the street, I guess Steve had been dead maybe six weeks, and (the guy) wanted to buy my building, and I told him that I didn’t want to sell.”
This would have been a good time to quit the retail business, Hager said, but she didn’t.
“So when I thought about it, I first told him no and then I said let me think about it,” Hager said. “So I just moved across the street; I leased this building.”
The store had previously been in other locations, including the Brookdale Shopping Center, where the store was called Canterbury Shop when it first opened in 1969.
The shop later moved to Signal Hill Mall and was there for about 10 years before moving downtown.
Since moving to the new and current location, the store has expanded its gifts and has added new items to its offerings such as clothing — which is unique to the downtown area — stuffed animals, framing, Italian ceramics, food and jewelry.
Hager gives the community all of the credit when it comes to having a successful business.
“What has kept it going are really the wonderful customers and wonderful employees that we have had because it is like a big extended family,” she said. “I love my community and always have been involved in it in lots of different ways.”
Hager said the people she really loves and cares about have all been extensions of herself through the store.
“I guess the reason the store has remained … is love of the community,” she said. “I love this community I think we are so blessed … and Statesville is on the threshold now. There is an energy; there is something for you to do.”
To Hager, historic downtown Statesville has become an ideal location for young people to go and enjoy themselves.
GG’s is one of those places that many go and even add into their downtown routine.
“We have lots of travelers who stop here and they always say this is the neatest town, this is the most beautiful town. They also love the shop,” Hager said.
“I have one family that had relatives in Atlanta … they discovered the store, so this is where they meet now when they are meeting each other for get-togethers.”
Hager walks through her store knowing her customers by first name; she said that it is all about relationships.
“That is what small business is — it’s about relationships, it’s about service, it’s about caring … that’s why we have survived,” she said. “You don’t sit down and stop and think about it, but it is just amazing.”
The golden-anniversary event will have a chef making cheese balls, and shrimp and grits will be served, as well as cake, champagne and wine at Sunday’s ceremony.
“It is going to be our open house like it always is, but hopefully we are going to take it up a level,” Hager said. “A lot of people start their holiday shopping that Sunday … but they love to come for the food, meet the guests, hear the music and it is just a really, really happy day.”
The event will have door prizes, refreshments, music and even special guests such as a visitor from the North Pole and Bob Timberlake, a nationally acclaimed artist.
There will also be music by Clay Lunsford and Friends, jewelry designer Alison Maurer, chef Wilson Miller, Heritage Foods’ Bruce Julian and Wendy Cruce of Mariana Jewelry, which is handmade in Israel.