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Today's word on journalism

December 15, 2008

As part of my own personal "war on Christmas" (which a Utah state senator has offered legislation to outlaw), the WORD celebrates the season by going on hiatus until January. May all out days be merry and bright, and here’s to a safe, healthy and saner New Year. HoHoHo!

Empty Minds: "Of all the people expressing their mental vacuity, none has a better excuse for an empty head than the newspaperman: If he pauses to restock his brain, he invites onrushing deadlines to trample him flat. Broadcasting the contents of empty minds is what most of us do most of the time, and nobody more relentlessly than I."

--Russell Baker, Pulitzer-winning columnist

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Smithfield Implement's sales improve despite pinched economy

"THE IMP": Smithfield Implement is still going strong. / Photo by Tim Olsen

By Tim Olsen

November 25, 2008 | SMITHFIELD -- For nearly a century the Smithfield Implement Company has been serving customers. Despite the intrusion of modern day box stores such as Wal-Mart, Lowe's and Home Depot, "The Imp,"as it has come to be known by locals, continues to increase its sales.

"We're working really hard to maintain our position," owner and operator Ralph Roylance said. "Our sales for this year are up about 5 or 6 percent, and that's kind of rare based on the economic situation that exists."

Born in 1926, Roylance has been a part of the business his entire life. His father, J.M., bought the business in 1920 and it has been in the family every since. Roylance took the business over when his parents retired, and his son Bart will take the reigns whenever Roylance decides to throw in the towel.

"The future is solid with Bart here, he's 40 years younger that I am," Roylance said.

Established in 1914, the business was originally in a building west of Main Street, adjacent to and on the north bank of Summit Creek. In its early years the store saw consistent business due to the many advances in farming at the time.The store sells a variety of farming equipment, as well as western wear and other agricultural based items.

After 20 years of business, it was time to move to a larger building. In 1936, J.M. purchased the E.R. Miles building on the corner of 100 Njorth and Main Street, and the Imp moved to its current location.

Roylance said there were a lot of reasons for the store's success, but was quick to point out that they could all be traced back to hard work.

"The main reason for the success of this business is the effort put into it," he said. "Our business comes from a huge area, we don't depend on just Smithfield to keep us afloat. That is because of the advertising and the fact that you can buy something here for less than you can someplace else. We won't be undersold by anybody, it's a competition."

Another reason for the Implement's continued success has been connections made throughout the years by the Roylance family. Ralph said he and his son go to many different buying markets each year, and the store participates in three different buying groups.

"Buying is number one in any business, if you don't buy right you're not going to stay in business," Roylance said. "With the advent of all the competition we have we wouldn't be here if we didn't have all the connections that we have."

One other factor that Roylance believes has played a role in the Implement's continued success is its uniqueness. He mentioned everything from the fact that the business buys direct to the narrow aisles of the store when naming off its unique traits.

"We are unique, but I couldn't possibly define what makes it that way," he said.

He was quick to point out that the comfortable feel of the store wouldn't mean anything if people didn't already have a prior relationship with it.

"Having narrow aisles that bring all these smiles doesn't mean a damn thing," Roylance said. "It's the reputation that we've built up over the years of having the merchandise at the right price at the right time."

Known for its friendly service as well as its low prices, the Smithfield Implement Company is a great place to find what you're looking for chances are you'll find what you need.


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