After more than 16 years in downtown Statesboro, the Plunderosa closed its doors for good Saturday. Owners Linda Aycock and Martha Bacon said it has been a great business, but age and a desire to retire were the determining factors in their decision to close.
A vintage and antique store, Aycock said the name of the business was derived from a phrase used when she and her daughter would go to garage sales.
"Saturday morning would roll around, and I would say, 'do you want to go plundering," referring to garage sales," she said. "That is how the name Plunderosa came about. For the last several years, we have gotten the vast majority of our merchandise at auction. We haven't been plundering like we used to."
Bacon said she and Aycock originally opened in Brooklet, and were there for two years.
"At first, we just opened on Saturday mornings, and then it was all day Saturday, and then Friday and Saturday - you kind of get the picture," Bacon said. "We just outgrew that, and decided that we needed to move the business to Statesboro. We were driving around one day, and saw a ‘For Sale By Owner' sign on this building, and bought it."
The former location of an IGA grocery store, and later an auto parts store, the Plunderosa has been a cornerstone of East Main Street commerce.
"I feel like we have generated a lot of traffic for downtown," Aycock said. "Through the years we have always been busy, someone is always in here shopping. I'm glad that Craig (Deal) is going to put a store in here, and continue that for downtown."
Deal plans to open a second location of Deal's, Furniture, Mattress Outlet and Gifts on June 1.
"It's a tentative date right now, but that is what we are shooting for," Deal said. "We are so excited to be opening a second location downtown. The two stores will be very similar, and we are going to provide the same great merchandise and service. This location will make coming to see us a little easier for some folks."
Deal's other store is located on Highway 67 East.
Downtown Development Authority executive director Allen Muldrew said there is a synergy being created downtown.
"With our two antique stores, L.A. Waters, and now Deal's, this will be a destination for furniture shopping, and I think that brings a lot of promise," he said. "Martha and Linda have had a wonderful business, and I think the fact that Craig is coming in there is a testament to the strength of that location."
Aycock said the two did not follow a traditional business model per se.
"When people go into business, they are all worried about getting their logos, business cards, and developing a business plan," she said. "We didn't do any of that. We just wanted to do things as cheaply as possible. Years ago, we even bought a lot of our fixtures from Belks. The less we spent, the less mark up we had to put on things."
Both Aycock and Bacon said that their customers have gotten on to them throughout the years for not charging enough money for their merchandise.
"The way Linda and I looked at it was if we got a bargain then the customer ought to get a bargain," Bacon said. "We never tried to figure out what something was worth, we just put our standard markup on whatever we paid. Hopefully, it would sell."
The two admit that they have different tastes.
"You could say that Linda likes things that are a little more primitive," she said. "There have been many times that I have said, I'm going to have to take that piece to the grave with me, because it will never sell."
Aycock recalled one of the most unusual items that the pair ever sold.
"One time, we had a life-size wooden deer with wooden antlers that was on a platform with wheels," she said. "It was made to be rolled from room-to-room. It was really big, and its stomach opened up, and became a dry bar. It was something."
Aycock said she plans to spend a lot of time fishing with her husband now that she has retired. In parting, she took time to thank her son Jim.
"He has worked with us down here for the last 10 years," she said. "Without him, we would not have been able to keep the business going. There are certain things that Martha and I just couldn't do."
Bacon said she intends to increase her volunteerism and involvement with Georgia Southern, and is working on a cheerleading scholarship program for the university.
"It has been a wonderful journey, and we have both enjoyed it," Bacon said. "It's time now to go on a new one."