To say life is busy for the Young family is an understatement. The Cleaver interview was six months in the making for this busy family when the couple took over the Harrison Shop N Go in January.
While their purchase of the store might have been a surprise to many, Greg Young has a lot of experience in the convenience store market.
Currently, Greg works for Beacon Building Products in Flint and Carly is a family consumer science teacher at Harrison Community Schools.
“He liked this store; he liked the location,” said Carly.
Greg just walked into the store one day and asked if it was for sale. That was five years ago, and they are now six months into entrepreneurship.
Greg worked for the Maverik chain of convenience stores as a regional manager out west. Maverik’s promotional slogan is “Adventure's First Stop,” and the high energy brand is Greg’s inspiration for their store.
“It’s been interesting,” Greg said. “We’ve had some really challenging times. And it has nothing to do with the support we are receiving from the community; all that has been wonderful and great, couldn’t ask for more. Everything is up now compared to last year. To make it what we want it to be is going to take a lot more.”
The ultimate vision Greg sees for the store is a Hornet/Harrison theme with a hometown feel. They want to expand the food service area and have fast food or local food offerings. The first questions they fielded when taking over the business were about bringing back Taco Bell. They are open to filling the space with a restaurant or fast-food brand.
“Everything will be driven back to the community,” he said. “We aren’t here just to make a dollar. Everyone visits a convenience store, and we want to make this the hometown place everyone wants to come too.”
Carly envisions a hornet theme and local history photos when they redecorate.
Harrison is Carly’s hometown. She is the daughter of Bill and Sherry Hileman, and Greg has embraced the community as his own. The couple met at Brigham Young University in Idaho where they both attended college. Before settling in Harrison, they lived in Arizona, Greg’s home state, and in South Dakota.
“Ultimately, she had a really good upbringing here,” Greg said. “I’m from a much bigger town.” They have lived in Harrison for six years now, and Carly is happy to be home.
“It’s a world of difference being by yourself or having family to support you,” said Carly.
“We have the best customers that come here – I like the hometown feel, and I’ve gotten to know a lot of them,” Greg said. “I drive to Flint every day and I didn’t know anybody. “Now I work every Saturday and I’m here every night and it’s been so fun. I want to give my kids a good place to work and learn a work ethic as they grow up. I really want to invest into the community and be a part of it.”
While Greg doesn’t see leaving his job with Beacon Building Products, which he enjoys, anytime soon, his vision for the store is one of longevity and the list of improvements, plans and dreams for the store is long.
First up is power washing and painting the building. A great deal of cleaning, replacing coolers and equipment, installing LED lights, and inventory management has taken place over the last six months including fixing broken gas pumps. The pumps and concrete will be replaced and, regrettably, will cause a necessary short-term mess.
U-Haul services will also continue. Greg is working on getting the store a higher priority for availability of equipment.
“It’s a good business and they are a good company to be a part of, there is just a high demand,” he said. “Whatever comes into the store usually leaves within the week. We just need to have the right inventory.”
Sponsoring things like 4-H, Little League and other youth activities is a high priority.
“My vision is for this to be the community store,” he said. “We won’t ever be a large corporation and we don’t want to be.”
The store wasn’t the only addition to their family this year. In May the Youngs welcomed their fifth child, their first Michigan-born baby.
Visit the Harrison Shop N Go at 3010 N. Clare Ave. in Harrison across from Wilson State Park. Call them at 989-539-3121.
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