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Friday, May 6, 2016

An Area Business Salute - Hi-Lo Shoppe

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Photo/ Tammy Curtis Sheree Hamm and Sonya Smith owners of the Hi-Lo Shoppe.
Throughout the recent economic downturn it is important to notice area businesses that have survived generations of economic roller coaster rides and remained in business. Each week through the end of 2009 the Villager Journal will salute these area businesses. Congratulations go out to all those who have remained in our community, making the area a place in which we are proud to call home.

H i-Lo Shoppe in the Highland Square Shopping Center has seen many changes and improvements since it opened the doors for business on March 22, 1977. After over three decades of service to the community, the ladies at Hi-Lo know how to satisfy their customers.

Even the huge tornado of 1982 did not dampen the spirits of the Hi-Lo Shoppe. Juanita Bragg and Sheree Hamm were the original owners of the business that offers one of the areas best selections of clothing, shoes, jewelry, Merle Norman makeup, Hallmark cards and as many gift items as one could imagine. In 1982, following repairs and a subsequent expansion resulting from the damages the business suffered from the tornado that nearly destroyed many of the businesses in the Ark Center (as it was called at that time), Hamm's sister Sheila Ford joined the business. She later sold her share of the Hi-Lo Shoppe to her sister Sheree Hamm. Bragg retired in 2000 and sold her 1/3 of the business to Hamm.

The family owned business has managed to survive even the toughest of economic times. Sheree said because so many of their products have to be made overseas, they have to be ordered for seasons well in advance and she said a lot can change in six months.

She said the Hi-Lo means high quality at low prices. Hamm said she is very blessed to have wonderful people to work with including Carolyn Lawrence and Sonya Smith (her sister). She said good help is hard to find.

Hamm said, "We appreciate every person that comes through our door. We have been here so long, they are friends, not customers, they are friends." She said they have a lot of customers who live out of state and they stop every time they are in town. Hamm said it was very special when after the 2008 tornado; they received calls from all over the United States asking if they were okay.

In addition to the repeat customers the Hi-Lo Shoppe has become accustomed to over the last 32 years, Hamm also stressed that shopping locally helps keep the community alive. The Hi-Lo Shoppe is located in the Highland Square Shopping Center in Highland.

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