When Greg Larsen was growing up, Saturday was shopping day — he, his little brother Shawn, and the rest of their family would walk from one local Grays Harbor store to another, picking up everything they needed.
“We could spend all day shopping downtown on Saturdays. Things have changed, but we’re doing our part to build the core and bring about the Grays Harbor renaissance,” he says.
About a year ago Greg, a veteran, and Shawn, who’d been working for a satellite TV company, put their money where their mouths were. They purchased and lovingly restored a downtown Hoquiam building to open an ice cream shop, Buddy Moos.
“We started Buddy Moos because we believe in this community. We were tired of waiting for the state government or some big corporation to save us. Change has to come from within — it’s locals taking a chance and starting a small business, and the community supporting those businesses,” Greg says. “This is the place we want to be, this is our home. We’re committed to this community something fierce, and we want to help other local businesses succeed.”
We’re all in the same boat
Shawn is just as eager to help the community grow, whether that’s sharing his experiences with other local entrepreneurs or something as simple as wearing t-shirts for other businesses while working at Buddy Moos.
“I love helping people! We’re all in the same boat,” Shawn says.
Want help planning the perfect Saturday in downtown Hoquiam? Shawn and Greg recommend supporting homegrown businesses like The Jitter House, Harborena, the 7th Street Theatre and Lion Guard Gaming.
Shawn is proud to be “the Buddy Moos guy” that local kids are excited to meet, and he’s also grateful to the community for their support through his son’s cancer treatment and any other challenge that arises.
“Our wives, Crystal and Tina, have also been a big part of our success — they both work full time, but are always ready to come in and help out, or just provide emotional support when business is stressful.”
Dedicated, young staff
Buddy Moos doesn’t just provide Grays Harbor with tasty ice cream, they also provide many young residents with their first job opportunity. All 19 of their employees are part time, and the Larsens do their best to work around sports practices and other commitments while providing training and resume building.
“We’ve got a great group of kids. Everybody who comes in absolutely loves them all — they’re better than fantastic!” Shawn says.
“The kids are the roots of everything — and they’re so protective of this place! They really go that extra mile,” adds Greg.
If you dream of bringing Hoquiam, Aberdeen and Grays Harbor back to the good old days when downtown streets were bustling with local shops, Greg says there are two things you can do.
“The only way Grays Harbor is going to move forward is if we do it together. Support local businesses if you want the downtown to survive. And if you’re willing: take the chance, buy a building, and do something special.”
Find Buddy Moos at 501 Simpson Ave. in Hoquiam. To chat more about community-building, email firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by for an ice cream cone!