Grocery business runs in family’s blood

By Don McAlavy: Local columnist

As told to Don McAlavy by Steven Brian of Colorado:

“I read your column ‘Clovis man spent majority of life in grocery business’ with great pleasure. I am one of the proud graduates of ‘Hubby Tech’ as Less jokingly referred to his store.

Anyway, I wanted to write you also because of what your article left unsaid. I know you can only cover so much in a small article, however, my thoughts center on something that I can’t let be overlooked. Not only did Less spend the majority of his life in the grocery business in Clovis, but so did his son Dwayne. Furthermore, and his grandson Buddy is still carrying on the family tradition.

Dwayne ran the store as Less got older — in fact, if memory serves me right, Dwayne actually bought the store from Less for a whopping $1. Both Less’ wife, Jiggs, and Dwayne’s wife, Pat, were also staples at the store for many years themselves. Buddy grew up in the store and then in his 20s, took over as manager. Unfortunately, they ran into hard times, as all family operated independent grocers have, and they could no longer compete with the big chains.

So, in the late 80s, Hubby and Sons came to an end. Less and Dwayne ran a catering business for a while and Buddy moved on to Albertson’s, where he is still working as a manager today. Many of your readers may see him every week and not know or remember his connection to the past of which you write so fondly. I also fear Buddy read your article himself and wondered, ‘What about Dad or me?’

I can tell you this. I was shaped by the values of the Hubby family and their belief in the fact that they were not just grocers, but truly serving their community. I remember after working there for only a couple of weeks, Dwayne took me aside one night at closing time and chewed me out — for working too hard! He told me I needed to spend more time putting down what I was doing when a customer came into the store, call out their name and show them that we loved them — then and only then should I get back to work. Wow.
Thankfully, I had such an experience and have never been able to get away from those values.

Finally, just to share, I was not the only such graduate of Hubby Tech in my family. My father worked for them when he was in high school, and Dwayne was actually my father’s best man. My mother baby-sat for Buddy when he was a baby. My uncle Bud, or Jess Board also worked there, who some might remember by the nickname Less gave him, ‘Splinter.’ When I worked there, Buddy’s 5-year-old daughter was usually somewhere running around the store.

So, while I know this is partly my own story, I wanted to let you know just how much one man’s life spent in the grocery business touched so many lives. In a year of remembrance of 100 years of Clovis history, the Hubbys deserve fitting, proper attention.

Thank you for sharing your memories, and thanks for listening to mine.”

Don McAlavy is Curry County’s historian. He can be contacted at:
dmcalavy@telecopelab.com