community were seen more clearly in the shopping patterns .
“ Decades ago farmers raised a lot of tobacco ,” said Joe . “ November and December is when they took that cash crop to market to sell . When they got their tobacco checks that is when they went Christmas shopping .”
Credit cards weren ’ t used widely when Joe was a kid ; “ Everyone paid with cash and checks ,” he observed . And people didn ’ t spread their Christmas shopping out over several months as they do now -- though Joe admits he still tends to wait until December .
“ For the most part , what we sell is what customers would be buying anyway ,” he said . “ Getting it as a gift just makes it so much better .”
What gifts people buy hasn ’ t changed all that much over the years . Carhartt workwear -- known for high-quality coats , shirts , jeans , and more -- has always been popular , and more firearms are given as gifts because more people are into shooting sports and protection , especially with many more women being firearm owners , noted Joe .
Decorations have always been kept tasteful and minimal at Paul ’ s Discount over the years -- “ The focus is serving our customers ,” said Joe -- though they do host an Angel Tree to allow customers to help children and families in need during the holiday season , and Santa Claus may have made a visit a time or two .
“ Once when I was little , my grandpa , former state representative Elmer Randall , wore a Santa suit , but I just knew it was him ,” said Joe . “ He walked around ringing a bell saying , ‘ Ho Ho Ho .’”
Joe wished this article ’ s readers a “ merry and blessed Christmas ,” and is proud to be a part of a business legacy in this community that ’ s lasted for more than 60 years .
“ The key is service ,” he said . “ God made us to serve . Doctors serve by healing , farmers serve by growing food , builders serve by building homes , reporters ... serve by informing the public and bring joy into their lives . We still need Jesus , but I believe God is pleased when we approach our job as serving Him .”
December 2021 SEKY - Life in Southeast Kentucky • 23