By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
Ric Bird has worn a lot of hats in his life including Tribal Council representative, champion pow wow dancer and singer, and professional wrestler. His latest hat is that of entrepreneur.
Along with his wife Ramona, he opened Ric’s Smoke Shop and on Tuesday, March 6 they officially opened Ric’s Grocery which is located in the same store adjacent to the smoke shop.
“My wife and I started this initially as a cigarette store,” said Ric, an EBCI tribal member, “and more and more we had people coming in asking if we had drinks and snacks and then things like milk, bread and eggs and we thought, well, let’s just open a small grocery store and that way they can all be right here – one stop.”
“We’ve come a long way,” said Ric. “We’re just growing slowly, but surely.”
Principal Chief Michell Hicks was present at Tuesday’s event and cut the ribbon to officially open Ric’s Grocery. He spoke highly of Ric, “I’ve known him a long time, and I know anything that he does he’s going to be successful at it because he’s a hard worker. Ric, I want to congratulate you on your progress today. I know there’s a lot more to do, and I’m looking forward to the progress.”
He added joking, “And, of course, we always love to see that levy coming into the Tribal office.”
“There’s a balance in our community,” said Chief Hicks, “and the more entrepreneurs that we can create and support the better off Cherokee is going to be because we all know the more times we can turn that dollar in our town, the better off we’re going to be.”
Ric related that the work force at the smoke shop and grocery store is about 80 percent EBCI tribal members and Ric’s Grocery Store also features many Cherokee crafts that are locally-made by tribal members.