Gloria Hager, owner of GG’s Art, Frames and Gifts, describes her love for retail as “something that gets in your blood.” It’s clear that’s true, given that Gloria is celebrating her retail store’s 50th anniversary this year.
From Brookdale Shopping Center to Downtown and everywhere in between, Gloria’s favorite place to be by far is in Downtown Statesville. Through the past 50 years, her store has seen many changes and moves, but one thing remains the same - An owner who is passionate and loves what she does.
Gloria’s shop opened in 1969 when she was in her twenties. The store was named the Canterbury Shop and was located in the Brookdale Shopping Center, where Walgreens is now. She sold books and a few “funky and unique” gifts, and was the only store in town at the time that sold bestseller books! The shop started out mainly focusing on books, but over time, gifts were added and evolved to become a larger part of the store.
Canterbury Shop moved to Signal Hill Mall upon its opening in 1973 and remained there for nine years. During her time at the mall, Gloria added Italian Ceramics, unique gift lines, stuffed animals, jewelry, Pennsylvania Dutch, and along the way, the framing began.
Next, the store moved to Downtown Statesville in a house just to the left of where Johnson’s Greenhouse is today. While there, she focused mainly on selling art and framing. Over time she became one of the top print dealers in the country and carried the best artists in her store. It was as her business grew in that house that Gloria discovered her customers did not enjoy malls.
She then set her sights on her dream gallery, the Webb House, located on the site of the Statesville Civic Center. She purchased the Webb House, moved her gallery and the business did well. Gloria says she “loved her time in the Webb House”, but always wanted to be closer to the heart of Downtown Statesville. While on a walk one day, she noticed a ‘Going out of business’ sign displayed in a window. She already had someone who was interested in renting the Webb House, so she called that afternoon, made an offer and purchased the building known as the Lazenby - Montgomery Building.
Located at 110 W. Broad Street, the business thrived for 26-plus years, growing more and more each year. Gloria says it’s all about “location, location, location”! After 9/11, she saw a change in the art industry and began to add more gifts to the store. During her time at the Lazenby - Montgomery Building, she changed the business one last time to ‘GG’s Art, Frames & Gifts’. In February 2018 she relocated to the current location of GG’s, 101 W. Broad Street, where she continues to sell gifts, frames and art.
Gloria grew up in Downtown Statesville and it’s where she fell in love with retail! Her first job was at Peggy’s Dress Shop in Downtown Statesville. She remembers in the 60’s when Downtown Statesville was vibrant with cars cruising and many open shops. When you ask Gloria what she loves about Statesville, she gleams with her answer and is happy to tell you why she loves the place she calls home. “It makes me happy to see Downtown thrive again, with young people moving to Statesville and businesses open and doing well,” she said.
One of her favorite things about her home, is the people and their kindness! As you walk down the street, people smile and wave even if you don’t know them. When Gloria’s husband (Steve) passed away, a customer brought her homemade soup and bread each day, an act of kindness that she will never forget and thinks about often.
GG’s is a classic example of Gloria’s belief that Downtown Statesville is more than just shopping; it’s an experience - each one is personal and unique. When you step into the store, someone is always there to help you find exactly what you’re looking for from their amazing selection. There is something there for everyone! From loving on dogs and babies to helping you find the perfect gift, Gloria knows that everyone will feel welcome in Downtown Statesville.
Join Gloria and her team at GG’s as they celebrate their golden anniversary at their Holiday Open House and 50th Anniversary Celebration! A tradition at GG’s is ringing in the holiday season on the second weekend of November with their Annual Holiday Open House! This event always features holiday decor, live music, special guests, door prizes and food.
Special guests for this year’s extra special celebration include ‘Nationally Acclaimed Artist’ - Bob Timberlake, local jewelry designer - Alison Maurer, Mariana Jewelry Rep. - Wendy Cruce, Chef Wilson Miller with Wind & Willow Foods, Bruce Julian Heritage Foods, and a special guest from the North Pole, Charles Connor. It’s going to be a wonderful afternoon of celebration of this milestone occasion and joyful holiday season!