Pendleton Jeans that is…and all things Western including jackets, flannels, leather products, boots, sweaters and more!
The owner of Hayward’s Trading post, Libby Drolet, dreams of these things too because even after being there seven days /60 hours a week, and 52 years…she still can’t get enough! I promised her I wouldn’t spill the beans on her age, but suffice it to say that she has many years on me and energy that I can only hope is one day available bottled up in pill form.
When I asked her where she gets all of her energy (I assumed copious amounts of coffee were involved, but alas, she only has one a day from Dunkin’ Donuts), she replied that the formula is simple: she loves what she does, where she lives, and who she gets to work with on a daily basis.
I identified a lot personally with Libby, having started my business at a young age, as she did; even though our products are vastly different, (I sell beds, she sells boots) we definitely shared the same passion for quality products and superior customer service. We had a great time talking and after I left, it occurred to me that our products are literally like day and night and when you’re not in one, you’re in the other!
“Invest in your shoes and your sheets because if you’re not in one, you’re in the other.”
Libby Drolet, who was too modest for me to take her picture and insisted I focused on the store instead of her, lives in Wilton, NH (where has she resided her whole life) and enjoys working on home projects as well as spending time with her grandchildren. She had a sparkle in her eye that stays with a person all day and I can see that even after years in the business, she is just as passionate as ever!
- How did you start your business and come up with the idea?
Back in the early days of Hayward’s, Libby’s late husband and she owned and managed a small motel in Milford, NH. Her husband worked in Boston at the time and often on his commute, he saw a store with shoes and other items similar to what they (now) carry and he asked if Libby was up for trying something new. A retail store was born and the rest is history, as they are now entering their 52nd year in the same location on 359 Elm Street in Milford, NH. They carry moccasins, casual men’s and women’s footwear, Western boots, shoes, and other supplies (think awesome cowboy hats and belts). In addition to shoes, the store is also chalk-full of quality clothing and accessories for men and women, purses, leather products, as well as blankets, and hand-selected gifts and souvenirs. She has eight employees and Nancy, her longest standing employee has worked a total of 45 years at Hayward’s Trading Post.
2. What do you love most about doing business and/or living in the Souhegan Valley?
The location is second to none and unbeatable in Libby’s opinion, giving residents here the ability to travel to oceans, mountains, cities, and more in just a matter of hours. She also loves the people here -both the locals and tourists who frequent her business. They have very loyal customers who return time and time again as well as folks from out of town who will stop in on their summer vacations. Being surrounded by a great physical and social landscape are the two factors that help Libby enjoy what she does and where she lives.
3. What do you enjoy about being a Chamber member and how has it helped your business?
Libby has been a Chamber member since the beginning! She says that because she doesn’t have much time away from the store, as she works open to close each day, she is not as involved in community activities as she likes but she loves that the Chamber acts as a voice and directory for local businesses and they do an excellent job of promoting their members.
4. What is something you would like the community to know about you?
Libby went to high school with Fritz Weatherbee of NH Chronicle, a fact I found very fun –as I am a big fan of his! Her family and his used to vacation nearby to one another at Nubanusit Lake.
Libby said the hardest thing about being a small business owner is keeping up with ever-changing regulations, as well as competing with the internet as a freestanding retail store. That’s why she is thankful for the Souhegan Valley Chamber which helps open eyes throughout the community about the value of shopping local and simultaneously does a great job of promoting local businesses. One of her favorite parts of being in her business is trying out new things that she feels her customers will like. I agreed with her in that regards; I thought picking out new pillows was fun and I cannot even imagine the sheer elation that would come from shopping for boots, clothing, and shoes as part of my job!
In closing, I asked Libby if there was ever a time she worried or was stressed about the way business was going or the ever-changing economic times and how she dealt with that. But she said to me, she has always carried the assurance that even during rough patches, “It was always good enough to know it will get better.” I think that just goes to show you how positive and optimistic her approach is to life and work.
I encourage you to check out Hayward’s Trading Post and experience it for yourself! You’ll be sure to get great service, as Libby and her staff treat their customers in a special way and are always sure to be seen going out of the extra mile to make your experience the very best!