Liquor Store Lifts Toast to Patron's Success

by Richard Provost
Memphis Press Scimitar, August 1982

Buster Hammond and his son Rommy say they enjoy the intoxicating scent of success because they follow two basic principles

"Treat people right and have good prices and you can't go wrong," the youngerHammond said.

Those principles, plus a basic human instinct, his father noted, have combined to make Buster's Liquors almost recession proof.

"People are going to buy whiskey, I don't care what!" said Hammond, a robust-looking man of 72. "They're going to do three things. They're going to buy gas, chase women and buy whiskey. I don't care how broke they are, they're going after those three items."

Rommy agreed.

"when the economy is good, this business is booming,: he said. "When it's bad, it's booming. Our business is on the increase since we've been here. We've been on this corner (Highland and Poplar) since 1970. We've had two months during that time when business hasn't increased. We've expanded the store three times."

"Before advertising was allowed, all we had to sell was ourselves. We'd treat people nice. We'd open the door for them. We used to have someone standing by the door all the time to open it for customers. Now we've got that (automatic doors)," he said, nodding toward an entrance.

"If a person trades with you, the least you can do is be nice to him," said Rommy, sitting at his desk in a cramped office at the rear of the store. "I think the majority of the businesses not doing business just don't want to spend the money."

The Hammonds, who moved to their current location from a store on Bellevue, have used their profits to expand the store.

Since last July, when the business began newspaper advertising and expanded for the third time, Rommy estimates revenues have increased about $1 million.

He has no qualms about discussing the store's volume. "Why would I? I'm an honest man. I pay my taxes. I'm closing in on $3.5 to $4 million this year," he said. "As far as I know, there's not another store in town that does a million dollars. What the people tell me in the industry is that nobody is close to us in the whole state."

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