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Reflections

Letter Offers Insight Into Kraft Cheese Plant

By Charles Cooper

Hello everyone, hope you’re having a good week.  

Last week I received a letter from Kenneth Mixon who lives in Holcomb, and he gave me some interesting information regarding the Kraft Cheese Plant. He said his dad, Loren Mixon, was chief cooker on the night shift and they had an assembly line of women who packaged the cooked cheese. He said his mother was a packager and a man named Boatwright was one of the helpers. This time frame would have been in the mid 1940s.

Mr. Mixon said that he attended school at Water Valley and later Camp Ground.  This really got my interest as I knew several Mixons and some Boat-wright’s. In fact I had a class under Nolen Boatwright my last year at Camp Ground. I also went to school with Dan and Sam Boatwright  prior to that. I also knew Raymond Mixon, Gerald Mixon, Lawrence, Bonnie, Shelby, and Bennett Mixon.

The cheese plant closed in the late 1940s and Kenneth’s family moved to Grenada. His Dad went to work for a dairy there. Kenneth is retired from the military and city government.

Kenneth, I really appreciate your letter and that is the first time I every knew anything about the inner workings of the cheese plant. My only experience was at the front where the milk cans were unloaded.

Another reason I value your letter is because as I’ve stated several times over the years, hand written letters are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Please write again,  your input will always be appreciated as this column was built on information furnished by my readers.

This also brought back memories when I worked part time delivering milk to the stores in Water Valley for J.D. Quinn, who had a dairy in Grenada. He was a brother to W.C. Quinn, who worked so many years for the Mechanics Bank.  J. D. was Mayor of Grenada in later years. I first learned from him the true value of customer service.  

Grenada farms had something of a monopoly during World War II and they had become careless in their service. Mr. Quinn would tell a reluctant merchant, “You can depend on me. I’ll be here today, tomorrow, and every day and all I want is a chance to serve you.”    

In the time I worked for him, he lived up to his promise. I believe the lesson I learned working for him helped me over the years in giving good customer service.  I only regret I never got the chance to tell Mr. Quinn how much his example helped me when I was working for someone else and in my own business the last 15 years.  

Too many times today good customer service suffers, as the theme “bigger is better” has become the norm, and personal service has suffered. This is particularly true in banking where we once had a banker not just a bank. Fortunately, where I live we have the Fidelity National Bank which is family owned and Water Valley has Mechanics Bank. I’m proud to say I do business with them both.  

It’s only human nature that we all like to be addressed by name when we enter an establishment, rather than just be another number. There are some things from the old days that I hope we never lose.  

My email address is cncooper1@hotmail.com or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, TN 38101. Let me here from you as you know your input is always appreciated.

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