CEO celebrates 80th anniversary of Home of Economy
For Wade Pearson, going in to the business his grandparents started was always his first choice, and now celebrating 80 years in business, Home of Economy is going strong with plans made to open a new store next year.
Home of Economy started 80 years ago in Thief River Falls as a tire recapping business, before moving to Grand Forks, in what Pearson says was an “old shack” by the courthouse.
“They started with nothing, and kind of got going,” said Pearson about his grandparents.
Over the years, he rose to take over the store.
“I started here in ‘85 when I got out of school at UND, and I just worked,” he said. “I was taking over more and more ... and really took over in a slow evolution, rather than just all at once.”
The store grew over the years, with stores opening (and sometimes closing) across the state.
For Pearson, going into the business was always his first choice.
“It always attracted me. My dad is an attorney; he’s retired now. I could have followed that route pretty easily, but this seemed kind of a nicer fit,” he said.
Pearson, CEO of Home of Economy, (he shares that title with his brother, Scott) has plans not only for the store in Grand Forks, but across the state as well.
He redid the lighting in the Grand Forks store with LED lights, to brighten things up, and is looking to repaint soon. Perhaps the biggest news for Pearson and Home of Economy is opening a new branch.
“We’re working on opening a new store in Rugby, N.D.,” he said. “We’ve just been working on putting it all together, and it looks pretty good. So that would be something we would be doing next year. That would be our eighth store.”
Adding web-based sales is also in the works for Home of Economy, said Pearson, who mentioned that he is not satisfied with the current website.
“We’re working on our website to finally get a real full-blown sales website,” he said, adding that the current website has been a lower priority for him.
“At this point, it’s more important that people can look and know that you have it, to make their decision before they come in,” he said of the website, mentioning that its purpose will be to primarily assist in-store sales.
“I think for the most part that will be how it impacts us, I don’t think we’ll be shipping a ton of merchandise,” he said. “I think the biggest part is do they have it, is it in stock, what’s the price, just supporting your in-store (sales) I think is going to be more of it for us.
Spotting trends also has been important to Pearson, as he looks to grow the business.
“It’s always looking for new things,” said Pearson, noting that introducing Traeger grills have been a great benefit for the store.
“That really didn’t exist five years ago for us,” he said. “It’s our fourth biggest line.”
“It really shows that you have to be looking for the next thing. ...The area of clothing has exploded and is doing real well,” he said.
Though he acknowledges not every day is perfect, Pearson is content with his role as being part of the third generation to run Home of Economy.
“I think it’s a great life. I’ve always been a small town guy,” he said. “It’s a great lifestyle.”