The couple's work is running their own business, Romiette and Julieo, an antiques and gift shop situated in a 9-room house on Quintard Avenue at 4th Street.
"We wanted more control over the situation" of selling antiques to the public, said Debbie, than the couple had when they were situated in an antique mall.
Now their goal, said Pat, is "to give people a more personalized experience" in seeking furniture, knick-knacks and, if solicited, advice in creating a look to a room.
"A lot of people have good ideas, but they can't pull it together — that's where we step in," he said.
The Murrays' first day of business was March 11, 2008. They had seen the old house on the hill, across from the Classic GM dealership, as being for sale during 2007 and just knew it was meant for them and their dream.
Fortunately, the heavy lifting of structural restoration had already been completed, so all they had to do in early 2008 was move in.
The business is complemented by its location — on a spur of old Quintard that's apart from the main boulevard — but it's a location that evokes wistfulness among area natives like the Murrays.
"It just breaks my heart that everything is closing down," said Debbie.
"And moving toward the interstate," added Pat.
The work of keeping their business stocked is its own adventure — it's not a situation where one can call the factory and order 10 dozen more widgets. Consequently the Murrays keep up with auctions, estate sales and occasionally the contributions of private individuals in their quest of "unique stuff off the beaten path," as Pat puts it.
One time they just started driving along U.S. 78 East to stop at random points that offered antiques.
"The older the better," Debbie added. "If it's something I like, I can always find a place to fit it in."
Although the business doesn't provide the couple's sole income, it's still a substantial enterprise with its own rewards and annoyances.
The fun part, said Debbie, is "the people — we've mad some precious friendships just this year."
She also said they like "the challenge of trying to stay positive and motivated in this [economic] time."
By the same token, "negative attitudes" from the outside are downers. Shoppers don't mean to be negative when they say "I'm surprised you're still open," but it's still a painful thing to hear, she said.
Aside from that, just the usual chores of a running one's own business are another annoyance.
"I'm a procrastinator with paperwork," Debbie said, to which Pat added, "Nobody likes paying taxes, I guess."
And of course, there's always the need to sell. The couple said there's a certain amount of goods they know they need to sell each day, so if it's a quiet day that brings in few customers, that's "the hardest thing," she said.
That why optimism is about the most important ingredient any small retailer can bring to his or her business.
Or, as Pat puts it, "We don't dwell on the negatives."