A friend suggested we enter the Intuit Small Business Super Bowl ad contest and we thought it would be fun to win an all expense ad during the Super Bowl, after all, their audience is filled with Kevin’s customers. The first part of the contest asked us to write a 600 character life story – well, we misread and wrote 600 words. The story is compelling and because we had to chop it back down to 600 characters, we wanted our Kevin’s family to know how it all began. So…here is Kevin’s Story in 600 words!
Growing up in house with five children and little money, the floor served as Kevin Kelly’s bed and provided strong lessons about money and value which are evident when you walk through the doors of his two stores or view his online catalog and website. As a boy of eight, Kevin saw boys riding the coolest bike around, the Schwinn Stingray – he loved that bike, and wanted one in blue. So he saved enough money by hard work mowing lawns and sweeping the local store. Finally, one day he walked into the bike shop with $49 and tax and ordered that blue Stingray, being the first on the block to have the newest color! That was a great day! At 13, Kevin saved enough money through many different jobs to buy his dream car! $2200 for a Chevy Chevelle – but in his excitement he forgot he needed another three years to drive it! That great feeling of pride and excitement when buying the best with hard earned money has never left Kevin. His goal is for Kevin’s customers is to feel that same pride and excitement with every purchase.
Known worldwide, for offering one of the finest gun collections, Kevin began selling what he loved – hunting guns and fishing gear in a 200 square foot storefront. He put a pool table in the middle so his friends and customers would stay a little longer and many of those same people still hang around to talk hunting and fishing with Kevin and his staff. Back then, Kevin had to work for $2 an hour someplace else to make ends meet and allow him to buy the best merchandise for his customers. His momma, Miss Betty, took care of the books on a ledger with a pencil – growing the stack of ledger sheets along with the growth of Kevin’s stores. When Kathleen and Kevin married in the early 90’s, Kathleen brought a strong technology background and helped transition Miss Betty from pencils to QuickBooks; she also expanded Kevin’s to the web early on.
Kevin’s customers become family and the Kelly’s call them that in everyday conversation. They want the Kevin’s family to have outstanding service and the best selection of goods anywhere. Just ask the loyal customers who have shopped there for over 40 years including past Vice Presidents, executives, NFL players and country music stars who fly into the small South Georgia town of Thomasville or Tallahassee, Florida for a day of shopping at Kevin’s. They come from many continents and all have the same love of the outdoors that Kevin had the day he opened the door 40 years ago.
The Kelly’s know their customers, their customer’s children and grandchildren – they hunt with them, they fish with them. They celebrate the outdoor life and its traditions together. It is truly a family business with a home town feel, even for those who fly in from around the world just to shop at Kevin’s. With the internet anyone can buy anything anywhere. Kevin’s is more than that, it is family, it is relationships and knowing that Kevin and Kathleen know who you are. It’s personal.
Kevin’s momma always told him to save every penny, pay cash and only buy the best – it lasts longer. Kevin listened to her and now at 91 years old, his momma never needs to give Kevin advice but she does come to his Tallahassee store every day, to check the books and make sure the store looks its best, because, after all, his name is on it.
****If you liked Kevin’s story we would love for you to vote for us through September 22nd to win a chance at that Super Bowl Ad!****