LOGANVILLE — For the Fords, the Camps and the Harrisons, business has always been in the blood.
Long-time residents of the Loganville and Snellville communities, each of the three families grew up with a certain sense of compassion and the belief that a true business does a service for the community. Perhaps that is precisely the reason why both Legacy Beverage Center and Loganville Package Store have experienced such success as the first two liquor stores in Loganville — even being located a mere half mile away from one another.
For father and son Richard and Doug Ford, opening Legacy Beverage Center seemed like a no brainer. The duo had worked together in the packaging industry since the late 1980s, which they both described as the journey that led them here. Today, Legacy Beverage Center sits alongside Highway 78, a whopping 14,000 square feet, and is home to spirits, wines and craft beers.
“There's over 30 years of experience poured into this package store and business is good. We stay busy and we had a phenomenal holiday season,” said Doug.
“We're proud to be here and to get to work in a community that we have called home for a long time. Dating back to the mid 1800s, the Ford family were farmers along what is now Killian Hill Road, just a few miles away from where Legacy Beverage Center is located,” said Richard. “How it came to be is part of the story,” he said.
Five years ago, in Sept. 2009, Richard and Doug began meeting with Loganville City Council members to discuss the possibility of “wetting” Loganville. With the exception of a few municipalities, both Walton and Gwinnett counties were considered dry at that time. Refusing to give up on their dream of owning a liquor store in Loganville, the Fords formulated a plan to get 35 percent of voters to sign a petition allowing the City of Loganville to put the big question on a referendum. With 4,100 signatures resulting in the placement of the question (whether or not Loganville should become wet) on a referendum, a record breaking 900 votes in the special election and a 60-40 approval tally, the City of Loganville went wet.
Ultimately awarding three licenses, two in Gwinnett County and one in Walton County, the City of Loganville, with the help of grassroots volunteers, made Legacy Beverage Center and Loganville Package Store possible.
Loganville Package Store owners Donald Camp and father and son Dwight and Ron Harrison also came by the decision to open a package store quite easily.
“We've all been long term residents of the area and we're businessmen. My father and I had been discussing getting into spirits for a long time and, in 2010, we decided to go for it,” said Ron.
The Harrisons had previously owned Snellville Volkswagen and Camp had operated Camp Electric for 45 years before opening Loganville Package Store.
“No matter how long it took us, it was worth the wait,” Ron said.
Having opened the store in August of 2014, he said business has been wonderful. Carrying spirits, beer and wine, “Everything sells,” he said.
The 10,000-square-foot store carries over $1 million in inventory at all times and gross sales topped that number in the first six months it was open.
Ron said business isn’t just about the money though, it's about building relationships with customers.
Both Loganville Package Store and Legacy Beverage Center owners agree that is what makes them both successful, even being located in such close proximity to one another.
When asked what it’s like being so close to there only competition, Doug Ford said, “I don't think it was intentional, for either of us, being so close. But I don't think it’s hurt either of us. We’ve both built relationships with the people in this community and, because of that, I think there's plenty of room for both of us to do good business.”
Ron Harrison said, “You know, I think business is probably going good for both of us. We're doing great and I think they probably are too. We are close, but I don't think it bothers either of us because we both have very loyal customers.”
As six months of being open closes in on both package stores, Legacy Beverage Center and Loganville Package Store's business continues to thrive.