Small business that survive through Downtown Decatur changes


Downtown Decatur has seen many changes through the years but through it all, some businesses have stayed the same. Two shops have been in Decatur for more than 100 years, Garver Feeds and Rupert's Sport Shop.

At Garver Feeds you'll see an 85-year-old scale, a 40-year-old cash register and Gene Garver, the fourth generation to own the pet and wild bird feed store.

"We've been fortunate that we can stay right here, centrally located, and I think that has helped us through the years," Garver said.

The shop has been in the same location for 115 years, since 1898.

"Back then it was livestock feed and more the feed for cattle, horses, and pigs and that type of thing," Garver explained.

Today, vacant buildings surround the shop but Garver's store has stayed. Taking care of customers has been key.

"Load the products in the car for them and help them out with their individual problems," Garver said.

Garver Feeds isn't the only business that's been around for more than 100 years. Just down the block, Rupert's Sport Shop. Once selling bikes, now just specializing in guns and hunting equipment.

"You have to continuously experiment on merchandise," Owner Dick Vaughn said.

He has sold thousands of bikes, but stopped selling them a few years ago.

"We made a lot of money in the bike business but it's a lot of work," he said.

Since the early 1890's the business has had four Decatur locations, but this is the last and final stop.

"I'm doing the best I can but I can't be here forever," Vaughn said.

That's when he will close the doors forever.  Vaughn said someone can buy the building he's in but he will not sell the Rupert's Sport Shop name.

Garver said that business is okay but he is struggling. He added it's hard to compete with other, bigger businesses, but with another generation of Garvers in line, he said he does hope to be there for another 50 years.

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