Avondale Estates gives Ray’s its dueA photo of Peggy, left, and Ray Belcher hangs on the walls of Ray's Indian Originals in Avondale Estates. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt
The city of Avondale Estates recently recognized the family of Ray Belcher, the man behind Ray’s Indian Originals, for being in business in the city for 66 years.
While that sounds like the sort of thing small towns do all the time, the city was initially slow to recognize the Belcher family. In September, Jonathan Belcher told Decaturish that the city had refused on the basis that the family can’t prove its business is the oldest in Avondale.
But the city came around, and on Feb. 9 gave Ray Belcher and his family recognition in its weekly newsletter. It wasn’t the official proclamation the family was asking for, but state Rep. Karla Drenner, D-Avondale Estates, drafted a resolution on the family’s behalf. The city’s email provided a link to that resolution.
“Avondale Estates is pleased to recognize Ray‘s Indian Originals as one of the oldest longstanding businesses in the City,” the city’s email says. “Drop by the store for beautiful baskets, pottery, weavings and more, and visit their Facebook page for store updates.”
City Manager Clai Brown said while there is no formal resolution planned, “The City wanted to recognize Johnathan and Mark of Rays Indian Originals and also let the community see the resolution Representative Drenner did honoring the life and memory of Ray Kent Belcher.”
Mark Belcher, Jonathan’s brother, said the family was pleased to see their father’s business recognized. Ray Belcher passed away in 2005, but the honor means a lot to their mother, Peggy, who started the American Indian apparel business.
He said Jonathan Belcher had recently asked the city manager about it again. His persistence paid off.
“I know he was happy about it, because he had been asking them to do it for a while,” Mark Belcher said.
Today the family business exists as Ray’s Indian Originals, an offshoot of what started as Ray Belcher’s radio and television business. It sells American Indian artifacts, purchased from reservations throughout the country.
In the 1960’s, their father erected the infamous Ray’s pole sign on North Avondale Road. The city now owns the property and has recently demolished that sign.
Read more: Here is Rep. Karla Drenner’s resolution recognizing Ray Belcher.