2018 a real bell-ringing for local cash registers
Surprisingly good, fantastic, and like gangbusters are some of the adjectives business owners in downtown Marion use to describe 2018.
The newest business in town, The Building Center, finished its first fiscal year.
“2018 went good,” owner Morgan Wheeler said. “The community has responded very well. We are happy for the help we’ve got.”
His father, John, joined the company as a full-time employee, and Jacob Harper was hired last week, bringing Wheeler to one part-time and three full-time employees.
The County Seat celebrated 40 years in business. Jeannie Wildin said she and her husband, Brad, had the “best year ever.”
Most of their business was residential, with 99 percent being within Marion County.
“It keeps our trucks from driving out of county,” Jeannie said.
Neva Hett, their only employee, has occupied the front desk for 16 years. A subcontractor lays carpet, but Brad does hard-surface flooring with Jeanne’s help.
“We have a lot of loyal customers,” Jeannie said.
Jay and Judy Smith, operators of Gambino’s Pizza, said business was the same as previous years.
“It didn’t go down, and as long as we can break even, we are satisfied,” Jay said.
They added more products to their menu and installed a digital menu display.
They have been in business for 21 years.
Roxey, a 5-month-old rat terrier, greets customers as they enter Marion Dry Cleaning and Laundry.
“There are only two people she hasn’t liked,” Donna Rosiere said.
Rosiere and her husband, Billy, have owned the establishment for 15 years.
“We had a very productive year,” she said. “It was a surprisingly good year.”
They acquired new customers including guests at the Historic Elgin Hotel and local bed and breakfasts.
“Hopefully, that will continue,” Rosiere said.
The business also benefited from closure of Hillsboro’s only laundry service.
The Rosieres have a new source of income, rental of their adjacent building at 125 N. Main St. for the new Restoration Center addiction counseling office that opened in December.
Business has been going “like gangbusters” at Great Plains Computers.
“I’m always swamped,” owner Lloyd Davies said.
He spent a lot of time in the 2018 election season, providing information technology support for the Department of Homeland Security and state agencies. He warded off cyber attacks and disruptive digital communications from other countries.
“It was by far the worst I had seen,” he said. “I’ve kept everything secure.”
He has five employees — two full-time, two seasonal, and one part-time.
Sisters Catie Zurcher and Jenny Craft are in their third year as owners and operators of FamLee Bakery.
“We’ve seen an increase in business,” Catie said.
They enlarged their menu and started serving lunch specials. They also provide catering.
“We finally were hitting our groove and figuring out what the community wanted,” Catie said.
They serve regular customers but also see many new faces, they said.
Fay Family Chiropractic, owned by Paul and Heather Fay, has been in operation in Marion for 2½ years. The business has seen an increase in clientele every year.
“Business was fantastic in 2018,” Heather said. “We love living in a small town. Marion is uniquely friendly.”
Lori Heerey said her real estate business was brisk.
“We moved a lot of houses and saw a lot of new people come in,” she said.
She attributed the situation to the hiring of many new teachers, administrators, counselors, and coaches by Marion and Centre school districts.
“We need to rebuild our inventory now,” she said.
Barry Allen said his business, Webster Auto Service, had some slow times this past year, but overall it was “pretty good.”
Started by his grandfather in 1953, the business has been owned by Barry since 1997. He recently acquired a new tire balancer and new diagnostic scanner.
He employs two full-time mechanics. His daughter, Audra Boone, is his bookkeeper.
“I think we did well, but we haven’t gotten numbers yet,” Doug Regnier of Marion Auto Supply said.
He and his brother, Mike, are co-owners.
Arlie Overton of Arlie’s Collision Repair said 2018 was his best of 16 years in business.
His wife, Gina, is in the front office, and he employs three technicians.
On the hill, Carlsons’ Grocery “went all right,” Greg Carlson said.
He and his brother, Mitch, have operated the store for 25 years. Greg said Dollar General had cut into the store’s business, but their store provides more service.
They employ 27 people, half part-time.
“We’ve got to keep plugging away,” Greg said.
Lanning Pharmacy did better than the year before, according to Traci Lanning, who owns the business with her husband, Gene. Reimbursements have increased, and the store sold a lot of gifts. Traci said candles and Hallmark cards were best sellers.
“I’m optimistic about this year, too,” Lanning said.