The Georgetown Business Association is honoring one of Georgetown’s oldest family owned and operated establishments, The Phoenix. The store opened in 1955 when Betty and Bill Hayes arrived home from a trip to Mexico, laden down with unique and vibrant folk sculptures, art, jewelry and clothing. They compiled their treasures and thus The Phoenix was born. Over the years the store evolved under the new ownership of Betty and Bill’s son and his wife, John and Sharon Hays. Along with their daughter, Samantha, the Hays have incorporated an international collection of popular women’s clothing designers, Mexican-inspired silver and gold jewelry and other artisan crafts collected from the family’s travels to Zambia, Thailand, Mexico and other various countries.
As a “founding father” of Georgetown BID and past board member of GBA, John Hays has always played a prominent role in the community. Hays may have even settled a longtime feud between the GBA and CAG, suggesting that instead of competing, the two associations should work harmoniously together in order to better the community and those who both work and live within Georgetown.
The Hays family has kept The Phoenix thriving and full of life over the past 55 years by always moving and growing and most importantly, absolutely loving what they do. With John in charge of buying the folk art and jewelry, his daughter Samantha as a buyer for the women’s clothing, and wife Sharon taking over the finances, The Phoenix is a well-oiled machine.
As for where the store may be in another 55 years down the road, “It’s up to the next generation,” Hays says. And with four grandchildren, two local to the area, there is certainly another generation standing by in the wings. But Hays isn’t pressuring, simply providing the opportunity. Whether they chose to convert the store into a McDonalds or keep it intact, Hays trusts that all will work out. John Hays’ secret to success? “Enjoy it!”