Small Business: Live Oak

There are still places folks can go shopping the old fashioned way.

Live Oak with a population barely more than 6,000 is often described as "the original Florida,” a small town where residents take pride in living and working.

Lavoye Boggus says his father opened Live Oak Jewelry in 1946.

"He was here up until about 1957, whenever I got out the service. I came back and gradually worked into the business and he got out."

Boggus still runs the store with his wife and two sons. They say shopping isn't like it used to be, but in their small, family-owned store, you don't have to worry about the chaos of today's shopping madness.

Jon Boggus, the oldest son, says, "I don't have to have a company line. If there's any problem, you want to bring it back, we can work out an exchange, a refund, or whatever we need to do. If the price needs to be altered later on, that's no problem."

They even use an old-fashioned method for advertising. Any piece of jewelry Mrs. Boggus wears is for sale.

Antiques clocks, watches and jewelry are mostly repaired and adjusted right there in the store. The Boggus brothers say their customized diamonds are forever.

Bart Boggus, the youngest son, says, "It's not something you buy your girlfriend for a couple of years. This is something you can buy your girlfriend who may become your wife, who can pass it on to your daughter and they become heirlooms. It's not just a piece of jewelry to wear once or twice, it's something that can last a lifetime."

Downtown Live Oak once flourished with homegrown businesses, but local business owners say the days of longevity are slowly fading.

Lavoye says, "Times are changing and big stores are coming in. They're tough competition for small businesses and we've been very fortunate, but it's been tough for small businesses. We've had a number of them close. All up and down this street here, there used to be stores.

Live Oak Jewelry has survived a fire, flood and a few renovations. Owners are now on their second and third generation of customers, and they say that's how they've lasted 59 years.

Lavoye adds, "We've always tried to treat people right because it's not like a big city, they'll be a new one come along. We got to depend on the same people coming back."

Jon says, "It's the personalized service that we like to think is the major difference."

It’s the difference between just buying something and shopping the old fashioned way.

The Bogguses will pass the business on to their sons and say that's kept them from going under like many other smaller businesses.

Friday night, we'll take you to another town where one store is celebrating 80 years in business.


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