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Shop Small Saturday in Willcox

WILLCOX — Shop Small Saturday hit Willcox last weekend despite the chill in the air.

According to City of Willcox Business Engagement Specialist Jordan Parrish, in 2018, 58 percent of the city’s sales tax revenue came from retail sales, 12 percent comes from hotels, 10 percent from restaurants and bars and 7 percent from contracting.

“I can tell you that 199 businesses have current licenses with the city (although at least a few of them have closed), and the majority of them are independent businesses,” Parrish said. “Also worth pointing out is that, unlike many small towns with a single major employer, we’re a lot more resilient in the face of economic trouble because of the variety of employment sources we have here. While we don’t have many flashy businesses operating in the area, we do have a lot of entrepreneurial people and a supportive community.”

The Range News visited several locally-owned businesses on Saturday located along Railroad Avenue. Rodney’s Restaurant began cooking promptly at 11 a.m., and many of the local wineries opened at that time as well.

Susie Vaughn, owner of Buffalo Sisters Trading Post Antiques and Collectables, had the doors open Saturday morning to greet visitors and talk precious stones with fellow enthusiast and customer Dove Schnebly.

“We’re doing better this year than we did two years ago,” Vaughn said.

The dual tasting room of the Copper Horse Vineyard and the Golden Rule Vinyard was the next stop. Gene and Ceci Rogge were visiting from Phoenix, tasting in the Willcox Commercial Building and lauded both wineries.

“We came back specifically for the Riesling (a Copper Horse wine) It’s dry and we particularly like that one,” Ceci said. “What Willcox could really use is a boutique hotel, right in the downtown area. And for the businesses to be consistent with their hours would be a help.”

Bowie Elementary School earns title of Most Improved School

BOWIE — Bowie Elementary School was recently honored, being recognized as the Most Improved School in Cochise County.

Bowie school officials were told of the honor by Jacqueline R. Clay, Cochise County superintendent of schools. In her letter, Clay lauded the school and its students.

“The overall performance of your students is higher than (the) state average. A ‘B’ grade reflects their distinguished accomplishment on the statewide assessment, significant growth and overall performance. This grade measures critical areas key to students’ success in school and career, mastery of math and language arts, and their readiness to move on,” Clay wrote in her letter to Bowie Superintendent Wendy Conger.

Mike Myers, chairman of the Bowie School Board, commended Conger’s leadership, crediting her with guiding the school and encouraging students and teachers to strive for higher achievement.

“She’s always trying to keep them involved; that’s why her students have gone so far. I’ve been on the School Board for nine years, and Wendy has outperformed any other superintendent. I cannot give her enough praise. And when we give her praise, she blushes,” Myers said. “She says, ‘I don’t deserve that.’ It’s a school district; there’s going to be ups and downs, but all I see is ups.”