Emily C. Roush
The Ashland Beacon
With Christmas quickly approaching, the holiday shopping season is going into overtime. When checking names off the list, it is important for people to remember the special men in their lives. Luckily, Ashland has great locally owned and operated options where people are sure to find the perfect presents for their fathers, brothers, significant others, sons and more.
Borders Sporting Goods, located at 5876 U.S. 60, provides a myriad gifts for sportsman who enjoy the outdoors. A fully stocked fishing department offers equipment for anglers of all skill levels. As a master dealer for Mathews and Hoyt bows, Borders Sporting Goods buys direct from the manufacturers, thus offering archery enthusiasts the best possible price. The store also offers an array of both new and consigned firearms. One big-ticket gift item offered this holiday season is Liberty brand gun safes. These made in the USA safes come with a lifetime warranty and factory rebates that can make them even more affordable gift options. Different sizes and price points can meet the needs of a variety of hunters and firearms collectors. All the current specials throughout the store that started on Black Friday will run through the end of the year.
Big box stores can offer comparable merchandise to Borders, but they are unmatched in customer service. Tyler Borders, Treasurer of Borders Sporting Goods, is proud that the store offers not just quality products but also a quality customer experience. “All of our employees are up to date with training and can help our customers. Customer service and knowledgeable staff are important to us,” Borders noted. Employees at the store regularly attend training and happily share their expertise with patrons. Staff will teach customers how to use firearms sold at the store and offer concealed carry classes.
Personalized, attentive service is paramount at Borders Sporting Goods. “I want people to have a good buying experience with us and be satisfied with their purchases,” Borders emphasized. He believes going above and beyond also helps set their business apart from large chain or online retailers. One example is how they deliver even their largest gun safes. “We deliver it to the customer’s address and actually place it exactly where [the safe] will stay. Big box stores don’t do that,” Borders stated. “It means everything to us; the relationships with our community are important,” he continued. Nothing is more meaningful than when first-time shoppers become repeat customers. “It means a lot that they choose us with all of the options out there.”
Gifts for enjoying the outdoors are perfect for some men, but others prefer something a little closer to home. Gibbs True Value Hardware, at 1000 13th Street, offers items to fit this plethora of interests. Air fryers, Lodge cast iron cookware sets, and grills make great gifts for culinary minded men. A large selection of tools is perfect for men who enjoy tackling projects around the house. The hearth department features live burning wood and gas fireplaces that staff from the store will install.
C.C. Gibbs, the store’s owner, notes that there is more to the store than people often realize. “People do not understand the wide array of product that we carry in our stores or have access to.” He continued, “It’s not just nuts and bolts and plumbing and basic hardware. We have small appliances, lighting, automotive and so much more.”
Gibbs True Value Hardware is also known for its extensive paint department. Gibbs noted that a hardware store mainstay like paint can even make a fantastic present. “I helped a husband pick up some paint sample books and supplies. He is surprising his wife with a freshly painted bedroom for Christmas.”
In a society where many are used to online shopping and same day shipping, there can be a misconception that shopping in local brick and mortar stores can sacrifice convenience. “It's important for our customers to know that if we do not carry an item that they need we can get it quickly. Gibbs Hardware receives three stock trucks a week,” said Gibbs. Speedy access to products combined with exceptional customer service ensures that shoppers are always taken care of. He continued, “Our customers are greeted when they walk in the door with a friendly smile. When [they] have a problem with the item we’re there to help fix it. Plus, [they] get some free popcorn and a smile.”
“Some people think Dads are hard to buy for, but we’re always hearing about how they light up like an excited child when they open up a new piece of equipment or get surprised with a new mower,” said Gary Newman at Gillum’s Service and Repair at 8611 US 60 in Boyd County.
Gillums offers great gifts for dads including Stihl and Echo backpack blowers that have big time power and turn giant jobs into quick ones. Battery powered Stihl trimmers, blowers and lawnmowers are light and easy to use tools for every single job.
Despite the unbelievable gift options at Borders Sporting Goods, Gibbs True Value Hardware and Gillum’s Service and Repair sometimes the best gift is the one the recipient can pick out himself. All stores sell gift cards and gift certificates ensuring everyone can get exactly what they want for Christmas.
The impact of purchasing holiday gifts locally as well as shopping local year-round has an immeasurable impact for Borders, Gibbs, Gillums and all locally owned stores. According to Gibbs, “Online shopping has its benefits and special reasons. But it is important for our community to understand that any dollar spent online is leaving our town. Shopping local, at any brick and mortar store, will help keep your money in your town, which helps keep your town healthy.” These stores love giving back to the community through multiple ways like sponsoring children’s sports teams and supporting local non-profits. When people choose to shop local, the effects are truly felt by all.