October 15, 2020
Running a small business is a challenge at the best of times. Running a family-owned small business during a pandemic is certainly not easy but this Oxford County store is doing what it takes to survive and even grow.
The original Morrow’s of Drumbo was a hardware store when it first opened in 1945. Fifty years later, it was purchased by Rob Kennedy’s parents. Since then, Rob and his sisters Jenna and Breann decided they needed to diversify their inventory and have grown the business to offer liquidation items, food, furniture and more.
“We have taken the product assortment to the next level,” said Rob. “We are busy, but there are challenges because we are a destination store. We do draw from the community here, but there is only so much business in Drumbo. We are able to pull from Woodstock, Brantford, Kitchener, Paris, Ayr, and some of the small towns around us.” He added the local community continues to support the business but in order to grow they had to reach out a little further. “We have a tight-knit community here and they support us a tonne. I don’t think I’d ever want to move from Drumbo.”
Much of this family business’ success can be attributed to how each member brings a different personality and role to the business. “We are truly fortunate because we are quite different. My one sister is a keep her head down and get the job done person and the other is good at the office stuff. I am a little more of the talker and people person. No one steps on anyone else’s toes so it runs as smooth as it could considering it’s a family business.”
Navigating the Pandemic:
When the pandemic hit, there was a glaring need for another way to do business. “We didn’t have an online shopping presence, so we quickly switched to taking pictures and putting them on Facebook with prices.” Knowing that wouldn’t be enough, Morrow’s started investigating e-commerce sites.
Morrow’s has now launched their e-commerce website www.shopmorrows.com and was one of 25 successful businesses who was approved for a $1000 Rural Oxford E-Business Grant this year.
Consumer trends in recent years are moving away from box stores to supporting local, even more-so during the pandemic. “That seems to be a trend. People would rather support local and we try and be competitive with our prices. We are cheaper than the big box stores when it comes to our liquidation item. You may have to pay a bit more for hardware items, but you are going to get service from someone who knows what they are talking about.”
Morrow’s added groceries to their product line about 5 years ago. Rob said they have some locally sourced items like cheese and meat, though most products are purchased from a large distributor. “Drumbo has shown signs of growing and unfortunately there isn’t a grocery store here, so we are trying to support the community.”
Morrow’s of Drumbo is located at 50 Wilmot Street North.