Family Business Matters- The Hume Family Delivers
This spring, in our Matriarch issue, we are featuring one of our favorite ladies of Rangely, Bea Hume. Her son, Bill Hume runs Nichols, newly painted and looking gorgeous, we thought sharing some of the roots of the past would be great so we pulled this amazing excerpt from Heather Zadra's story, Hume Family Delivers: A half century of service. Found in Volume 1, Issue 2 of Western Colorado's Home on the Range (ly)- a journal of contemporary life in the wild and remote west, you can read the entire story here.
When Ray “Junior” Hume and his sons, John and Bill, bought Nichols Store on the
first day of 1974, they set a rhythm that worked for a time. Junior and John stocked
the store’s fresh, frozen and canned goods, Junior managed most of the bookwork, and
Bill, back from a stint in the Army, used his newly-acquired butchering skills to cut meat
for locals and hunters.
A couple of years into the business, though, John knew grocering wasn’t in his future for
long. He moved on to work in the oil and coal industries while Junior and Bill ran the store
with family members and friends as close as family. Bill was content to let Junior handle the bookkeeping— as a loan cosigner, Junior wryly maintained he’d better count the money so it didn’t slip away—and as long as Bill stayed busy at the butcher table, he liked it well enough.
Before convenience stores arrived in the early 80s Nichols store stood in for all conveniences, among them providing early morning coffee and homemade sack lunches to work crews and anyone heading off for a long, hard day of work.
The problem was, he didn’t stay busy. While the store thrived in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Bill came to resent being stuck in the store’s back corner cutting meat, especially when there wasn’t always meat to cut. The dream of running a delivery business planted in a teen-aged Bill Hume as he loaded and unloaded trucks for granddad Ray Hume Sr. had germinated and was growing roots.
By 1981, Bill understood that a booming economy meant people had more money to spend on luxury, convenience and socializing, which meant they stayed home less and patronized restaurants and bars more. Hume hoped to capitalize on the trend.
“I thought that with everybody eating out a lot, being a wholesaler to the restaurants would help us more so than just staying in here,” Hume says, waving a hand around the store’s walls, whitewashed and plastered with articles, notes and bumper stickers chronicling half a century’s worth of stories. “Plus it was a way to get out. Junior was good with that.”