Chamber Connection Issue 7 DawsonCo-Newsletter_Vol7_3-0 - Page 8

Dawsonville Hardware celebrates 70th anniversary By Melissa Mayton, Dawson County Chamber Membership Director A local business in down- town Dawsonville celebrat- ed a major milestone in August. Dawsonville Hardware cel- ebrated its 70th anniversary on August 1. It is believed to be the oldest, family-run business in Dawson County. The business was started by owner Dwight Gilleland’s parents, Carlton and Cleva Gilleland in 1947. “I was two years old when mother and dad started this busi- ness,” Gilleland said. “So I look at myself as being the main duster because back then we wore cloth diapers. I did a lot of scooting across these floors.” Dawsonville Hardware owner Dwight Gilleland and Dawson County Chamber of Commerce President Christie Haynes along with the hardware store staff celebrate the store’s 70th anniversary. The store opened in downtown Dawsonville August 1, 1947. Gilleland took over the business from his parents in 1977. It’s also the same year Daw- sonville Hardware was incorporated and became a member of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce. Gilleland was a pioneer in launching the organization in Dawson County and served as the Chamber’s first President and is one of the Chamber’s longest, continuous members. Gilleland’s ability to adapt and innovate is part of what has kept his business successful over the past seven decades. “The biggest change in the industry I guess is computerization,” Gilleland said. “Everything was done by hand before. In the early 1990’s computerization came in and I took over the Point-of-Sale system. I could tell it was going to be a big deal.” Lawnmower repair has also become much more technical, much like auto repair. Gilleland said his staff does training every year to stay ahead of the curve. “Trying to stay ahead of the game is a short way of putting that,” Gilleland said. “I think we have definitely done that. God has blessed us with the ability to think ahead. And we owe it all to God to be able to live long enough to do things and the financial abil- ity to create—and that’s what you want to have in business, 8 | Dawson County Chamber of Commerce you want to be a creator. And I think that’s been our biggest accomplishment—creation.” Dawson County Chamber of Commerce President Christie Haynes agrees. “The ingenuity and innovation Dwight has put into Dawsonville Hardware is a shining example of how to keep a business relevant and prosperous in our ever-chang- ing world. We are so fortunate the Gillelands decided to start their business and make a living in Dawsonville 70 years ago,” Haynes, said. “We are excited and eager to celebrate this mile- stone with Dawsonville Hardware. We look forward to many more years of having a local place to pick up the perfect tool for any project.” Dawsonville Hardware carries modern and hard to find tools for most home and lawn projects. They have factory-trained technicians in the small engine department for lawn mower and outdoor power equipment. To celebrate the store’s 70th anniversary they will have giveaways, sales and a drawing for a prize to be given away at the end of the year. Looking back, Gilleland thinks his family would be proud of what has become of Dawsonville Hardware. “I think they would be pretty happy with the way it looks,” he said. “It’s got a touch of old-timey, but it is upgraded and modernized.”