Return to story

GRAHAM 'CORKY' COBLE

December 21, 2011 12:10 am

lo122111corkys.jpg

-

FAMILY: Wife, Jan; son Keefe; daughters Kelly, Kyna and Laney, three grandchildren; and Ziggy, our Cavalier King Charles spaniel.

EDUCATION: Graduated from James Monroe High School. Studied at VMI and Mary Washington College and have degrees in English and geography.

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP? I never could figure that out.

WORST JOB: I dug ditches that ran through the old Fredericksburg dump when they were laying a pipeline there.

FIRST JOB: I delivered newspapers for The Free Lance-Star.

HOW DID YOU END UP OWNING CORKY'S? It was totally accidental. I had not planned to do this at all. In college I talked about wanting to have a wholesale import/export business dealing in items from India. After traveling to India and setting up orders for people in New York, our shipments got hung up in customs here in the U.S. I was renting a building in Fredericksburg and needed to pay the rent, so I started the retail boutique business. Along the way I bought out a Richmond military surplus store that was going out of business and began selling that. My wife had a salon, and instead of continuing to pay rent on her building, we moved the salon in here as well. Since 9/11, the military surplus and police and fire part of the business began to pick up, and that is what we mainly focus on now.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST DECISION YOU'RE WRESTLING WITH NOW? Trying to decide whether to expand back into the rear part of the building. With the economy downturn, the boutique items we were selling in the front of the store were no longer selling as much, so we moved all the inventory from the back to the front and moved almost all of the boutique items out.

WHO WAS YOUR HERO AS A CHILD? Growing up it was the cowboys in movies and on television. Roy Rogers, John Wayne. Oh, and Davy Crockett. Am I dating myself?

WHAT BUSINESS BOOK DO YOU RECOMMEND THE MOST AND WHY? There isn't one I can think of, but if there is a book out there titled "Running a Small Business for Insane Dummies," or maybe "Will He Make It This Year?" I'd could recommend them.

HAVE YOU EVER WORKED WITH A NOTABLE PERSON OR CELEBRITY? IF SO, WHO? One day a customer I recognized, but couldn't quite figure out who it was, came in. He turned out to be Tom Wilkinson, a character actor who has been in movies such as "The Full Monty" and the "John Adams" miniseries, where he played Benjamin Franklin.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE THINKING ABOUT STARTING A BUSINESS RIGHT NOW? Get a government job. No, I'm only kidding. Well, not really. Really though, be fearless if you are planning to open a business.

WHAT ARE YOU MOST LIKELY TO BE DOING WHEN NOT WORKING? I love being outdoors, so anything outdoors.

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE FIVE YEARS FROM NOW? On a beach sipping on a piña colada.

WHO WOULD YOU RATHER SPEND TIME WITH, WARREN BUFFETT, DORIS BUFFETT OR JIMMY BUFFETT? See the above answer. That's a good hint, I think.

540/373-4984 or 540/371-7932

--As told to Craig Schulin




To nominate a business owner for The Deal, email: DealMaker@ freelancestar.com.

Provide a description of the business, how long it's operated, its location, contact information, website and why the owner should be featured.

The Free Lance-Star's coverage of area businesses in The Deal does not mean that the newspaper is endorsing any particular business.




Copyright 2014 The Free Lance-Star Publishing Company.