Family-Run Business Celebrates 100 Years

The owners of a 100 year old family-run store say they've managed to stay in business by changing with the times, but not sacrificing integrity. When W.A. McDonald and Sons opened in 1904, customers went there to buy feed and wooden wagons. Now the Bay St. Louis hardware store sells everything from hammers and nails to kitchen appliances.

Melissa McDonald-Blanchard came to work at her family's business thinking it would be temporary. That was ten years ago.

"It's become not just a job for me but part of my life," she said. "To be able to carry on what was started by my great grandfather I think he would be proud."

In 2004 people have a lot more shopping choices than they did in 1904 so for what W.A. McDonald and Sons lacks in size the family tries to make up for in customer service.

"People like personal attention. They like to go to a place where the people feel like their business is appreciated and they can get somebody to talk to them and wait on them," said Jim McDonald. "If you treat people right. Even small businesses like ours, you'll get your share of business."

The store is a family tradition for more than just members of the McDonald family. Richie Santiago stop by to pick up some supplies on Wednesday.

"As a kid I used to come here with my mother and father and they'd shop here. The place has always been good to them and good to my family. It's always nice to walk in and know the folks working behind the counter and them know you."

After 100 years and four generations of service, the McDonalds have a lot of pride in the business they built. However, they say they didn't do it alone.

"When a business has been in business for 100 years then a lot of people have done a lot of things throughout the years," said Jim McDonald.

Although the store is still called W.A. McDonald & Sons, owner Jim McDonald runs the store with his two of his four daughters.