We sat down with Russ & Dianne (Dickens) Call the other day to talk about how they got involved in retail and what makes Dickens Gift Shoppe at the Grand Village in Branson, Mo. unique.
Retail has been in our family for generations. – Dianne Dickens Call
What changes have you made to the store since you moved from the 76 strip to the Grand Village?
“The size has gone down. We are probably a 10th the size of our old store. Our main thing is customer service. We love to talk to the people and just have fun. People are finding us now.”
You are obviously known for your homemade fudge and that fudge is really good.
“Yes. Once you try it, you’re not going to leave without some. Becca, my daughter, wants to continue on in the business and she is the one that is making the fudge right now.”
Let’s talk about your taffy. We seem to see a lot of comments about your taffy on social media.
“We get our salt water taffy in every week from a company in Salt Lake City, Utah. That’s why it always tastes fresh. We offer a lot of different flavors too. We have chili mango, waffles and chicken, there’s an extreme hot, that to me kinda tastes like red hots, and we of course carry the vanilla, chocolate, and banana. Banana being our number one top seller.”
This year, you have expanded in to some of the most fun clothes and accessories I have seen. And the Gingersnaps are so much fun and versatile. Tell us about your new lines.
“Yes, you can switch them out (Gingersnaps). So, if you have snaps on your fingerless gloves – in the summertime, you can remove them and put them on your necklace, or earrings. It’s very afforadable and you can do a lot with them.”
Russ, you have worked at the store for a long time. What has your name on it or hits your hot buttons?
“The lawn and garden area is my passion. I came from running lawn and garden at the old location. We have an excellent line of chimes, made in the USA in Virginia – the people that sell them to us are great people. They are great to work with and we have done business with them for years. The company boasts multiple generations of chime makers. The chimes come with a 5 year factory warranty, so the folks really stand behind their work. Also, the ever changing market in lawn and garden is very interesting. We don’t know where it’s going, but we do know that people like to decorate their house; they like to decorate their yards, and we want to be there for them.”
Dianne, if Becca, your daughter, takes over the business, it will be your 4th generation in retail?
“Yes, she has worked with me since she was 13 and she is now 29. She has literally been making fudge since she was 13 years old. Plus, my granddaughter also wants to take over my job. I told her, anytime now!”
We think that is something special about the Grand Village. The shops at the Grand Village are special because they have generations of families that have worked and currently work together in the shops. These are Family and operated, local businesses.
“It’s different. It’s not a corporate business. It’s difficult working with family, but in the end it’s a good thing.” – Dianne