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Success Stories Started In The Valley

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

  Last week I attended visitation for James Arden Larson who, along with his brother, Bill, grew up in the Jumper’s Chapel Church Community when all of us were members of that church. This got me thinking about how many American success stories started in Water Valley. 

Their father, James Larson, farmed and did hauling for people in his Chevrolet stake bed truck. He and his brother, Roy, finally were hired on the extra board of Illinois Central Railroad and took whatever runs were available, which weren’t many in those depression days. 

There was a small store, called West Side Grocery, just north of where Cornerstone Rehabilitation is now. When James Arden and Bill were in high school, their father,  James, learned it was for sale and arranged to buy it. Later, his wife, Janie, told me he purchased the store mainly to give the boys weekend, after school, and summer jobs. In those days grocery stores and drug stores delivered to the homes and that’s where the boys started.

  Several years later the Malone & Hyde wholesale grocery in Memphis would spot successful small grocery store owners and offer to build a Big Star Supermarket, stock it, and make them partners in the operation. They were so successful that they were able to buy our Malone & Hyde and become sole owners. The Larson business expanded to several stores in north Mississippi and eventually became Piggly Wiggly stores. 

As their young brother, Joe, came of age he ran one of the stores and James Arden and Bill ran two others, and as their boys grew into manhood they went into the business. Their dad worked  into a full time job as engineer and actually died on the engine in the early seventies.

  James Arden and Bill became avid golfers and their mother, Janie, once told me, “I hope the day of my funeral it rains, otherwise the boys will be on the golf course.” True story, which I shared with Bill the other night. 

  Another success story was Brandon Jones. He worked for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company until the depression hit and many of those companies closed offices and employees lost their jobs. 

Brandon bought a beat up old school bus and bid on a route to Camp Ground. Like many people it was a struggle. Dorothy Maynor told me that she was on his route and the truck broke down every school day, but one, that year. The first time I remember seeing him was when he walked to Papa Badley’s house with a small gas can and wanted to buy a gallon of gas to get back home. Finally he opened a small grocery across from the park on North Main and Jimmy started out delivering groceries on a bike. When Brandon retired Jimmy expanded to a big supermarket on Central that was destroyed in the 1984 tornado. However, he built a new store, but bad health ultimately forced him to retire. 

  These are just several examples of Water Valley’s citizens who overcame adversity and became successful business operators.

   If the government will cut back on regulations and high business taxes and let the America people do what they do best, we can have more success stories in the future.  

  My email address is, or write me c/o The Herald, P. O. Box 648, Water Valley, MS. 38965, and share your stories with us. Have a great week and don’t forget to vote.

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