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Inside Bulloch Business with DeWayne Grice - Bragg Motor Service marks 60 years in business
Dunham's Sports to open in old Food Lion store spot
Ruth and Jack Bragg Web
Ruth and Jack Bragg are shown inside their shop - Bragg Motor Service - on Northside Drive West in Statesboro. - photo by AL HACKLE/Staff

             Friday, Bragg Motor Service on Northside Drive West in Statesboro will celebrate 60 years in business. The company was founded by husband and wife team Jack and Ruth Bragg, who along with two of their children remain active in the business.
        Bragg Motor Service in Statesboro and Sylvania serve as a wonderful testimony to love, commitment and chasing the American dream. Jack first noticed Ruth when she bumped into him in second grade. From that point forward, Ruth has been the only girl for Jack. They have been partners in marriage for 61 years and partners in business for 60 years.
        When Jack graduated from high school in 1953 he went to work with DeWitt Thackston repairing tractors in the same building where his store is located. In 1956, DeWitt and his brother Robert began Thackston Steel and sold the repair business to Jack and Ruth.
        "Small engines, especially two cycle engines were what I was gifted in working on," Jack Bragg said. "We were seeing more of the tractors and larger engines transitioning to air cooled engines and away from Magneto's to distributors. I had been to school on magnetos and really understood them. With this change, I decided to focus on the small engine repair, sales and service."
        Transition and change are two keys to their success, along with the family atmosphere they create with their customers. Logging was and continues to be a huge industry in the area. One of their largest success in sales were tied to the upswing in the logging industry and the need for chain saws.
        At one time, they were licensed dealers for six chain saw companies and led the state in sales. That was very rare and speaks highly of their market share. It was this upswing that allowed them to open a second location in Sylvania in 1967.
        "The logging industry has changed dramatically over the last few years and chain saws are not as important to their success as they once were," Bragg said. "Seeing this shift in the industry we began focusing on two cycle engines which are light in weight and work well on hand held products like weed eaters and edgers."
        Lawn mowers always have been a big part of their business. The lawn mowers and lawn equipment that they stock now are all commercial grade and higher quality. Their clients range from homeowners to commercial lawn care specialists.
        In addition to on site repair, Bragg's has a huge inventory of parts for lawn mowers and lawn accessory equipment.
        The Statesboro location is managed by their son Randy and their daughter Brenda operates the Sylvania shop. Their third daughter Debra worked in the business for years, but is now employed at Farmers Furniture in Statesboro.
        In addition to their family, several key employees remain critical to their success. Husband and wife team, Linda and Alvin Thomas have been long time employees of Bragg. Linda serves as their parts manager and Alvin is the main mechanic in the Statesboro store. Ricky Miller has worked with the Braggs for over a decade and is their two-cycle engine expert.
        The Braggs said they tried retirement for a little over a year in the late 90s, but it was just not for them. Ruth works daily as the operations book keeper and Jack travels to the Sylvania store every day to assist their daughter Brenda.
        The late Sheldon Mikel was a long time pastor in the area. He was also a teacher at Brooklet High School where Jack and Ruth graduated. Sheldon served as chaperon and bus driver for their graduation trip to Washington, D.C.
        "Ruth and I were getting a little too friendly in the back of the bus and Sheldon stopped the bus and separated us," Jack Bragg said. "I thought he had ruined our relationship. But fortunately he didn't. In fact, he baptized both of us and married us. I was beginning to think he might actually bury us, but he passed away recently."
        Their marriage stuck, indeed. And now, 61 years later, they have three children, seven grandchildren and 12 great grands. Together they have created a legacy that has stood the test of time.
Join me in congratulating this special couple for their continued commitment to their customers, our community and their family. They are a shining example of how hard work and commitment wins every time.


Dunham's Sports
        Dunham's Sports, one of the nation's largest sporting goods chains, is coming to Statesboro. The store will be located in the Southern Square Shopping Center along with Kmart, Office Max and others. About $350,000 of renovations are underway at the old Food Lion grocery store site for Dunham's new store.
        Dunham's Sports is a regional sporting goods superstore chain owned by Dunham's Athleisure Corporation with stores located in the Midwest and Southeast. The chain specializes in athletic equipment, clothing, guns and other sports-related items and has more than 225 locations in 20 states nationwide. Founded in 1937 as Dunham's Bait & Tackle, the Michigan-based Corporation has grown over the years to become the Midwest's largest sporting goods chain.
        The opening of the Statesboro location will be their second store in Georgia. There first store is in Rome.
        The chain carries a full line of traditional sporting goods and athletic equipment, as well as a wide variety of active and casual sports apparel and footwear featuring Under Armour, Nike, Adidas, Puma and more.
        Information for this brief was gathered from various sources, including a building permit that lists Dunham's Sports as the tenant of the old Food Lion store and the company's website. As of our press deadline, neither Dunham's Sports nor the building's owner responded to a request for an interview.Ruth and Jack Bragg

             Please email DeWayne at dgrice@statesboroherald.com or give him a call at (912) 489-9499.

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