By Jo Ann Collins
For years many people including myself have visited our town’s historical Foy’s Five and Dime Variety Store, but didn’t know it’s historical family connection.
Mike Foy is the third generation and owner of Foy’s. Mike told me his grandfather started the variety store four months before the stock market crashed in 1929 and he also had started the Sweets Shop in Versailles in 1912.
His grandfather sold the Sweets Shop in 1929 due to heart disease at age 54, the doctor told him if he continued to bake sweets all night and work all day he wouldn’t live much longer. Mike’s grandfather came up with an idea for a Five and Dime so he worked from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and would be home at night, and continue to live retiring five years later with heart problem at age 87.
Mike’s grandmother continued to run the store until Mike’s dad graduated from University of Dayton. Mike’s dad then came to work the store his entire life of which his son Mike became a partner with his dad in 1978 and Mike is still here today.
Mike’s son is Wright State University student and he is hoping the fourth generation of Foy’s will continue to work carrying on the tradition of the family business. What is so special about the shops is both shops are still in business and family owned.
Its easy to see Mike loves his job and so much so he stays sometimes too long his wife says.
The store in Fairborn has eight employees. The story has variety of items which keeps them busy year round. Old fashion candies you grew up with , greeting cards, toys, masks, parties, graduation, bridal, anything you can’t find anywhere else you will find it at Foy’s.
Foy’s has a kids costume store that stays open September to October but he does open it on an as needed for the customer who needs something special for their kids,and it’s separate from the Adult costume store. Mike’s wife Darla with her mom run the adult costume shop that is open year round.
Why the separate shops? It’s because adults won’t have to worry about a little 5-year-olds being around a provocative or scary adult costume made for adult party.
Foy’s is family friendly, which is great for adults and kids from all over.
I asked why he thinks his shop survived with so many others have disappeared?
Mike said, “I think its due to the shop becoming a Halloween specialty which is a huge holiday relating to his stores.” Many people come from middle of September to November when Foy’s is opened seven days a week with extended hours and free entertainment in the Fairborn downtown.
During that time Foy’s increases employment to 25 people during that time. He has found that visitors who spend time eating, shopping and looking at the transformation of Fairborn to a Halloween town that is a state wide attraction.
Mike would not consider moving the store, “My grandfather, and father was here their whole life and who am I to leave a place my family has had so many years, love the town and will continue to live and work here.”
Another great aspect of Mike is that he encourages other businesses to move in and become his neighbor.
Those of us who live and breathe Fairborn, we know it has a great downtown with a great history of family businesses, many making it for generations and Mike is representative of this. Thanks Mike for your family’s dedication to Fairborn.
As Mike says, “Fairborn is a friend to everyone.”
Jo Ann Collins is a resident of Fairborn and guest columnist.