LAKE PLACID — Most people know Nancy Davis as the smile behind the counter at Lake Placid Feed & Western Wear. She is that and so much more. She is also the co-owner, along with her husband Karl, to whom she has been married to for nearly 40 years. Davis is known for her long jean-encased legs and cowgirl boots, feminine blouses and infectious smile.
Davis does the ordering, merchandising, bookkeeping, advertising and social media for the company. It is no wonder that her husband says she is commander in chief of the business. Before taking over the business, the couple both served in the United States Army for 10 years as Quarter Master Corps Captains. The couple was stationed in Germany, Hawaii and other places, unfortunately, not always at the same time.
Davis is a member of the Greater Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce and the Morning Rotary Club, where she is currently the secretary. Giving back to the community where she was born and raised is paramount to her. She has participated in fashion shows, where the Western wear clothing from her store was modeled for a charity event.
“She is always supporting the children in the community,” Karl Davis said.
“She is the face of the business,” Karl Davis said. “She’s the one who is always out there and keeps our name out there.”
Davis learned her trade by following the examples of her hard-working parents, Bob and Marie Oxer. The Oxer’s started the feed store in 1971 when the town wasn’t nearly as large as it is now. In fact, a business card listed the location as “south of the blinking light.” Karl Davis thought the blinking light might have been at Interlake Boulevard but wasn’t 100 percent positive.
In 1992, the Davis’ took the feed store business over. Originally, the building housed two retailers with the owners renting out the other half of the building. Eventually, Davis felt the need to add variety and the Western wear portion of the store was added. Saying goodbye to a guaranteed monthly rent, she knocked down the wall and renovated the store.
Since then, Davis has been expanding from Western wear to antiques and collectibles, beautiful jewelry, unique purses and accessories, books and more. Karl Davis says that out of all the aspects of her job, his wife likes her customer and ordering inventory the most.
“When she does the ordering, she says, ‘I know just who will love this,’” Karl Davis said. “She knows her customers well and knows what they want. That’s what keeps them coming back. She is outgoing and has a friendly personality.
“People like doing business with someone like that,” he said.
Interacting with her customers is not the only thing Davis is good at — she has an eye for displays, even the less glamorous items in the feed department. Everything is arranged neatly and well-marked; items are divided by sizes and brands.
The biggest competitor for the Davis’ business is the internet. However, loyal customers still make it all worth it, Karl Davis said.
“Nancy keeps them coming in,” he said. “The customers know she will give them individual attention and they can try things on in the store before they buy. On the internet, you must pay shipping and if an item doesn’t fit, you must pay to send it back. It is worth diving over to get the items you want right away with no guessing.”
When she is not behind a counter and helping customers, Davis loves to get down and dirty in the garden and is a consummate reader. She also loves spending time with her two children and three grandchildren.
Davis has no plans of retiring anytime soon. She and her husband still enjoy what they are doing to even think about it.