This 117-year-old establishment held its own through wars, depressions, hurricanes, and floods. Four generations of Harrells gave their all to provide quality goods, excellent services and financial support to their beloved town of Burgaw, North Carolina. But they couldn’t fend off the double whammy of a pandemic and an economic free-fall.
On July 31st, 2020 Harrell’s Department Store will close its doors, and close a chapter on history.
Just think of what goes away on that day:
**A great alternative to big box and discount stores
**A welcoming place to gather for friendship and connection and specialty coffee
**Financial and material support of local organizations, clubs and teams
**Personal services: appliance repair, LP gas delivery, clothing alterations, etc.
**Employment for a diverse staff **A tourist attraction for film buffs everywhere (“I Know What You Did Last Summer” tours, anyone?)
And just think of what moves in when a large building and a going concern disappear from the heart of downtown:
**Loss of revenue for the town
*Adverse financial effects on neighboring businesses
**Fewer visitors to the area
**Reduced retail choices
**Lack of support for the whole community
BUT…..owner Vernon Harrell is determined to transform defeat into victory. He wants to keep the legacy alive. He wants to keep it timely and dynamic. His vision for a new “Harrell’s” is coming together.
The vision includes positions for a young, diverse, inclusive staff; opportunities for entrepreneurs; space devoted to the past and its legacy; entertainment events; possible living quarters, just to name a few. So, Harrell’s Department Store (being only “mostly dead”) will be reborn with your help.
The money you donate will go to:
***Updates to fixtures
***Hiring and re-hiring
***Establishment of a scholarship fund for business students
I am Vernon’s wife, Michelle. Although I am not 100% objective on this issue (lol!), here’s what I know about the Harrell family: Each generation was instilled with the values of strong community involvement.
Once Chauncey Harrell planted himself in Burgaw early in the 20th century, he began a legacy of volunteerism, charity work and dedication to family that passed from generation to generation. His son, W.R. Harrell, served on town and church boards, building committees and civic organizations, and in turn fostered a love of service in his son Charles, who was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine for his 30-plus years of civic service to the town of Burgaw. Today, Vernon Harrell serves his second term as town commissioner.
The belief that we all must actively participate in our communities is manifested by the Harrell family. They always made each and every customer feel welcome and cared for. Theirs is a legacy to be proud of. I am asking on their behalf, and the behalf of all who could benefit from the transformation of this unique place, for some help making it happen. Please consider a donation of any size, and then share this post if you're so inclined.
Thank you so much!!
Michelle and Vernon send you a special note of gratitude. Thank you very much for your support as we move beyond 2020!!
- Sharin Ray
- Kurt Hoben
- Melinda McKeon
- Patrick Gaumond
- Allison Denning
Organizer and beneficiary
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