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Groceries are Grimes' life

By By LISA TINDELL Staff writer
Groceries and people are his life.
Jim Grimes began his career in the grocery business after his first round of military service in 1956.
Back in 1956, the coffee department of a store was somewhat different than what we see in stores today.
After spending those two years in the Andalusia store, Grimes was transferred to the A&P in Ozark as he was promoted to the position of assistant store manager. The job would keep him in Ozark for about three years, where, he says the best thing in his life happened to him.
After meeting and dating the two decided to marry. Since they worked for competitors, the new Mrs. Grimes gave her notice at Piggly Wiggly and started her life following her husband on his journey that ultimately brought them to Brewton.
While the couple was living in Ozark, Grimes was faced with being called back to active military duty when something called the Berlin Wall was built and the U.S. government felt the need to go to war.
After being released from service, Grimes returned to Ozark and went back to see about his job. While speaking with Mark Cannon, then-district manager of A&P, he discovered the boss was interested in sending him to manage the Greenville store.
Knowing he wanted to get back into the grocery store life, Grimes said it never occurred to him to turn down the position.
After spending some time in Greenville, Grimes was transferred back to Andalusia as an assistant manager.
Grimes took his wife and made the drive to Union Springs.
While in Union Springs, Grimes was able to enjoy his love of fishing with the store's manager, Hoye Woodruff.
Grimes was approached once again by Cannon to discuss a possible move. It seemed that the manager of the Greenville A&P had been diagnosed with cancer and would eventually be leaving the store.
Grimes remained at the Greenville store until a move brought him to Brewton in May, 1966.
"Lydia was a trooper, she never hounded me about long hours at the store," Grimes said. "She never complained about moving around. We practically wore out our furniture moving."
The Brewton A&P would be home for Grimes for 24 years. The store closed in February 1990.
As a result of declining sales, the head offices of A&P decided that it was time to close the Brewton store.
Grimes decided this might be a good time to slow down in his life. He took a little time and watched baseball games.
Grimes said he was just looking for a job, not a management position. Bruno's did call him to work just prior to opening the Brewton location of Food Fair. He trained at the Food World store in Andalusia and in Atmore to get a feel for the way Bruno's did business.
Grimes said he loved the time he spent at the Brewton. The location of the store was near his home which allowed him a luxury few people enjoy.
After being co-manager at the Brewton store for some time, Grimes went to Atmore as manager of Food Fair there. It seems that the manager of neighboring Piggly Wiggly had their eye on the competition.
Grimes made a name for himself with Piggly Wiggly, showing nearly $12,000 in revenues after his first month on the job. He continued his work there for two years, commuting from Brewton every day.
Having had a fascination with politics for many years, Grimes decided the time was right to seek office in Brewton.
Grimes, along with his wife and friends, campaigned for the office for a year before the election.
Following his loss, Grimes decided to get back into the grocery business.
Lovelace Parker, the owner of Big Bear Superfoods in East Brewton, decided to sell his store in 2002. Bobby Brooks, who managed the store, had decided to retire at the same time.
The store changed names from Big Bear to Magnolia Superfoods.
According to Grimes, the folks in East Brewton have been wonderful to work with.
Grimes credits his success over the years to being a C.O.D. manager.
When asked about a permanent retirement plan, Grimes says that is not in his plans.