50 years of service with a smile

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 6, 2006

For those who shop in Super Food's/ Food Depot in Luverne, they will always receive a smile and a friendly &#8220hello” from Mr. Hilton Stinson, someone who knows all about working in the grocery store business.

He should. After all, he's been doing it for 50 years.

Stinson, who has lived in Butler County for most of his life, is the co-manager at Super Food's/ Food Depot in Luverne. He has been working there since Oct. 14, 2002.

&#8220I graduated from Greenville High School in 1954,” Stinson said. &#8220On Sept. 7 of that same year, I started working at the A & P in Greenville.”

And the rest is history.

Stinson said he began as a bagboy at A & P, and after almost ten years, he became store manager. He stayed with the company for 21 years.

In June of 1976, he began working for Super Foods in Greenville.

&#8220In August of 1977, I met with the supervisors of Piggly Wiggly out at the former Holiday Inn,” he said. &#8220I started working there and stayed for 25 years.”

In Dec. of 1995, A & P closed. Piggly Wiggly bought out A & P and moved into the former A & P building.

&#8220I made a complete circle,” Stinson said, laughing. &#8220I came right back to the same building where I first started in 1954.”

He stayed with the company until he retired Feb. 1, 2001.

However, retirement didn't seem to be in the stars for Stinson.

Before he &#8220retired” from Piggly Wiggly, he was approached by Jim Dubberly, the owner of the Fort Deposit and Georgiana Super Foods' stores.

&#8220I asked Mr. Dubberly if I could have a little time off,” Stinson said, with that familiar smile. &#8220His reply to me was, ‘Okay. How about starting next Monday?'”

Stinson stayed there rotating between the two stores until Oct. 14, 2002, when he was hired by the late Mr. John E. &#8220Jimmy” Wilson to work at Super Food's/ Food Depot in Luverne.

Mr. Jimmy Wilson and his wife, Mrs. Alyce M. Wilson, were the founding owners of the business. The couple bought the Luverne store in 1971.

John M. Wilson, their son, is the present owner.

&#8220Mr. Stinson is a great asset to our company, and we are extremely fortunate to have him as part of our ‘family,'” Wilson said.

Mrs. Mary King, front end manager and head cashier, has been with the Luverne store since 1971.

&#8220He (Stinson) is one of the nicest men I've ever met,” King said. &#8220I really enjoy working with him.”

&#8220If there were just two or three more people like him, this world would be a better place,” she added.

On Sept. 7, 2006, Stinson, who just turned 70 on July 29, will celebrate 50 years working in the grocery business, and he doesn't really see retirement in his future anytime soon.

&#8220I really enjoy the people in Luverne, and I really appreciate the support they have given me,” Stinson said.

&#8220I'm just so thankful for my good health,” he said. &#8220I see people 20 years younger than I am, and they can hardly walk, and here I am up and going. We should be so thankful for our good health, and I certainly am thankful for mine.”