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By Ryan Bowman/The Red River Sun—
MEMPHIS — Don Davis, owner and founder of what is now known as Davis Thriftway in Memphis, moved from Wellington in 1959 with a passion for people and a plan. As a boy, Davis briefly tried his hand in the farm and ranch industry but found his calling while working at his local grocery store in Wellington for a man named George Scott.
As a young and dedicated employee, Davis learned the grocery business. His experience, paired with his passion for helping and genuinely connecting with people and with his community, led him to partner with Scott and open a grocery store of their own in Memphis.
Davis and his employer-turned-partner teamed up to establish what long time Memphis residents remember as Davis & Scott Thriftway. The doors opened for the first time in 1960 and Davis presented his brand new 5,000 square foot grocery store to the City of Memphis for the first time.
Davis’ dedication to serving his community contributed to the success as well as the expeditious growth of Thriftway over the years. Thriftway quickly outgrew its original location, and over the coming years the original store underwent two expansions and finally an all-new facility that was constructed and opened to the public in 1986. This location still houses Davis Thriftway today.
Davis’ son, Randy, employee and now owner of the store following the untimely passing of his father, humbly gives all the credit for Thriftway’s success to his father.
“My father has been the moving force behind this grocery store all of its life.”
Davis remembers working with his father in the store from an early age and fondly recalls the evident and sincere love his father had for his community and for people.
“He was a real people-person and a wonderful representation of Memphis as a town.”
When Thriftway originally opened its doors to the community, there were an estimated 10 other grocery stores in Memphis. Davis attributes Thriftway’s ability to outlast its competitors to his father’s dedication to serving his community, as well as an extraordinary team of employees.
“We have a really good meat market, two amazing butchers who do an outstanding job, a guy who keeps our produce rack looking really, really great, a manager who really helps out a lot.”
Davis warmly commends the outstanding employees at Thriftway that keep it not only running smoothly, but thriving over the years and notes, “Everyone does a lot of work here, and we are proud of them. We are very lucky to have them.”
Among the team of employees, and in keeping with family tradition, Davis’ daughter Hailey joins her father and grandfather in continuing Don’s commitment to providing Memphis with everything needed and to securing a future for Davis Thriftway in Memphis.
In addition to the dedicated staff at Thriftway, Davis gives mention to the community that has supported them through the years.
“We’ve got great customers. We have really had fantastic support from our customers over the years, they are why we are still here. We have really enjoyed every one of them.” Randy fondly remembers his father and his love for the people of Memphis and notes, “He was a really good guy who worked very hard and started with very little. We were always proud of him.”
As the other grocery stores began to close, the Davis family remained committed to growing and adding variety and providing for their community. Having grown up in the store, alongside his father, Davis is no stranger to the importance of connecting with and providing for his community, and that belief is evident in his devotion to his father’s legacy.
“Memphis has lost a lot of jobs and seen a lot of change over the years, but the core of Memphis is still here,” noted Randy. “It is a bit cliché, but it is a wonderful life; it is a great place to grow up and raise your kids. We are fortunate to be in this small town.”