Archived Story

Wagon Wheel celebrates 39th year in city

Published 3:23pm Wednesday, February 16, 2011

 

In today’s hustle and bustle, many of the mom and pop businesses that were so prevalent 30 and 40 years ago are becoming scarce – if not extinct – in most areas.

Franklin County encourages small business ownership, but sometimes it can still be hard to flourish in a society with shopping malls and major store chains within a minute’s drive.

With small businesses shutting their doors all across the nation, one local business has weathered the economic storm and the big-business boom and remains standing – ready and willing to serve the Franklin County community.

The Wagon Wheel has been a fixture in downtown Russellville for the past 39 years and they are still there today to provide the ladies in the area with quality clothing, jewelry and accessories.

Owner Annette Sturdivant first opened the doors to the Wagon Wheel on Feb. 17, 1972, after responding to an ad she saw in the newspaper.

“The ad was advertising for someone who wanted to start a business here in the area and I just decided to go for it,” Sturdivant said. “There were so many girls in my family so I thought I would enjoy running a ladies clothing store.”

After deciding to open the business, it was actually Sturdivant’s two young daughters, Pam and Julie, who gave the store its name.

“I think they decided to call the store ‘The Wagon Wheel’ because of the country feel to the racks and the décor,” Sturdivant said.

She said he husband, Billy, helped build many of those rustic-looking items that can still be seen in the store today.

“It’s funny because we’ve had people to come in thinking it was a men’s store or a western store, but we just think it goes with the county feel of the area,” she said.

Lynda Mayfield, who has worked alongside Sturdivant at The Wagon Wheel for the past 37 years, said they have now clothed several generations of women in the time they’ve been in business.

“We’ve picked out clothes for the grandmothers, the mothers and now the daughters,” Mayfield said. “We have clothes to suit many tastes and styles, jewelry for all ages, and shoes that most all women would enjoy. It truly is a store for all types of women.”

Sturdivant said it’s definitely different to have a clothing business in today’s economy. While there were many more businesses and department stores in the area back in 1972, Sturdivant said the competition was actually better for business.

“Back then we had the Russellville Merchant’s Association, and we would all cooperate with one another,” she said. “We would have sales around the same time and business was good.

“Today, we really stay in business thanks to our loyal customers and thanks to the services we provide. We offer alterations, gift-wrapping, and we help customers coordinate a whole outfit. That personal service we offer is what sets us apart and keeps us going.”

Sturdivant and Mayfield both agree the best part of working at The Wagon Wheel over the years is building relationships with their customers.

“I love getting to know all these people and having them become friends instead of just customers,” Sturdivant said. “We just have that kind of a business, and we’re proud to still be able to offer a shop like that for people today.”

Right now, in honor of The Wagon Wheel’s 39th Anniversary, everything in the store is on sale.

They will also be having their traditional 3-for-1 sale. Stop by and support this longtime local business.

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