Big Oak General Store considering changes to continue business

Photo by Christie Netherton

Big Oak General Store in Calhoun has torn down walls to build a deli in the back of the store. Store owner James Perkins said the store will hold off on buying equipment due to declining sales.

Calhoun's Big Oak General Store owner James Perkins said the store is just making enough money to sustain itself and while he and his wife are not willing to give up just yet, they have to make some changes to keep the store up and running.

Right now, Perkins said he is holding off on ordering a lot of items and is ordering just the minimum amount to get truck deliveries to the store. He is also getting rid of a lot of products that are not selling well and looking to stock only what he will be able to sell within a two or three week time frame.

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"The business is still just making enough money to support itself. It's not able to pay me anything, not able to pay a worker," he said. "We will probably be going back to the bar bone essential grocery items with long shelf life over the next few weeks."

The store has not grown in sales since its first month of opening, according to Perkins.

He said many of the negative comments he receives are about pricing.

"Anyone that does their regular shopping with us always make the comment that ... we're actually really cheap," he said. "Whenever you're coming in here to get your weekly groceries, we're very comparable, especially when you're adding your gas going into Owensboro."

Regardless, he said he also receives positive feedback about the store's inventory and the high quality of its items as well as its work with the food pantry.

Perkins said that his short-term goals for the store are to get a deli. Walls have already been taken down in the back of the store to accommodate a space for the deli, but he said he will have to hold off for a month or two on buying equipment or getting a license depending on sales.

"We were hoping in the next couple weeks, but with just how sales are, it might be another month or two ... because we went to the point where we said this is how much we're willing to put into it and then the store has to survive on its own," he said.

The store has done a lot of expanding in the six months it has been open, going from one room to six rooms, according to Perkins.

He said he also plans on getting vegetable plants and flowers into the store in coming weeks.

"We've been able to bring in a lot more products. We started out just working out of a single room and now we're pretty much using the whole building," he said., 270-691-7360

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