Business of the Week – Lamar Thriftway

You help your community thrive when you shop locally!

Be sure to read The Prowers Journal each week when the Lamar Chamber of Commerce
 and The Prowers Journal highlight a featured Business of the Week.

This week we are proud to spotlight Lamar Thriftway, located at  204 South 6th in Lamar.

Every kid who ever ran his own lemonade stand knows that satisfying feeling. It’s the one that comes when his customers smack their lips and go ahhhh. It’s that special reward that comes from providing a service that is appreciated in the community. And it’s what keeps Shawn Oxley and Rod Thomas happy to go to work every day at Lamar Thriftway.

Their ‘lemonade stand’ is a rich legacy of humble beginnings. The current Lamar Thriftway partnership traces its beginnings from two directions; The Keystone Grocery of Lamar, and Tucker’s Grocery & Market in Wiley. From storefronts on Main Street in both towns, the businesses evolved over the years into the supermarket at 6th and Olive Street in Lamar.

When it opened in 1956, the L&F Foodliner was the largest supermarket between Wichita, Kansas and Pueblo. After the 1965 Lamar flood, the building was expanded by 50% and a parking lot was added on the South entrance.

The words of the founders continue to resonate at Lamar Thriftway. Bus Loutzenheiser counseled the Oxleys to find ways to “provide services that your competitors can’t or won’t provide.” George Tucker’s motto was to “always under-promise and over-deliver”, When the Oxleys opened Thriftway in 1988, they used as their slogan, “The neighborhood supermarket, trying to become your corner grocery store.”

 Because it has always been an independent, and locally owned, the business has been uniquely able to grow and adapt to the changing demographics of its community. The owners could buy local produce, and respond to special requests without running afoul of a corporate office hundreds of miles away. The store has learned to emphasize its perishable departments, meat, produce and dairy, and to offer service, prices and selection that are unavailable from competitors. By affiliating itself with member owned cooperative wholesalers, the business assured itself a supplier that eliminated costly middle-men, and offered a strong private label in the Shurfine brand.

Lamar Thriftway has always offered the best of choices in the grocery world because it is centrally located at the crossroads of the nation.. The competition is fierce, but Shawn and Rod insist that it has only made them learn to continually improve their offerings. Thriftway’s supplier is located in Amarillo, TX, and concentrates on products from the Southwest – which suites Shawn and Rod just fine! The demand for their Tex-Mex and Southwestern products is so great that a reset of the entire store completed in February of this year dedicated an entire gondola to these specialty products.

Their Affiliated Foods warehouse, located in the heart of the Texas meat packing industry, offers them the most complete selection of fresh pork, poultry and custom cut beef products in the area. You may also find a rich selection of specialty cheeses and they will even put together a vegetable, meat or fruit tray for your party. Through their warehouse they also own a proportionate share of a dairy, bakery, and potato processing facility. For household, and health and beauty needs AFI offers the Western Family brand exclusively to its members. And in almost every department of the store, from salad dressings to baby supplies, there is a selection of ‘dollar’ items for budget conscious shoppers.

Generally, on any given day, you can stop by Lamar Thriftway and catch Shawn and Rod stocking shelves, carrying out groceries and rubbing elbows with the help. Maintaining the heritage that brought them into this business and helping others learn to run their own ‘lemonade stand’ of tomorrow.

Filed Under: BusinessBusiness of the WeekChamber/Local BusinesscommunityEconomyEmploymentLamar


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