Adams Grocery’s History Richer than Ranger Oil
by Charity Parrott
The legacy of Adams Grocery began with a phone call. On a day no different from any other, a man by the name of H. G. Adams Sr. cleared his throat as he picked up the receiver.
“Hello, Adams speaking.”
“We need a butcher real bad,” said the man at the other end of the line. The familiar voice belonged to Mr. Echols, a friend of Adams Sr.
The McCleskey oil well had just painted the sky with black gold and the tiny tent-fort of Ranger, Texas began to grow by leaps and bounds. Echols, looking to open up a grocery store, called up Mr. Adams, who lived in Georgia with his family.
“Look, I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse. I’ll pay your way here and you can try it out. If you decide you don’t like Ranger, I’ll pay your way back to Georgia.” Adams mulled over the proposal for a minute. What did he have in Georgia that couldn’t move with him?
Not too much later, Adams Sr. and his family packed up and traveled to Ranger, Texas. Though Echols would later move back to Georgia, H. G. Sr. would remain in Ranger for the remainder of his years (Adams, C. September 3, 2010).
Established in 1917 under the name of Adams & Echols Fresh Meats & Groceries, H. G. Sr. would work as the butcher and, for the most part, as the manager (Pruett October 11, 2010). When Echols returned to Georgia, he left the care of the store in the able hands of his partner (Adams, C. September 3, 2010). Mr. Adams would change the store name to Adams & Company, Groceries & Meats (Pruett October 11, 2010).
In 1936, Mr. Echols finally sold the store to one Mr. Faircloth (Adams, B September 29, 2010). H. G. Adams Sr. would continue in his capacity as the head butcher, and not too much later, as the manager of Sig Faircloth’s Grocery (Pruett October 11, 2010). Finally, in 1941, the Georgia native would buy the store from Faircloth (Adams, B September 29, 2010). The name would change one last time, to the title of Adams Grocery and Market (Pruett October 11, 2010).
In the 1940s and clear into the ‘80s, the grocery store would thrive right along with the booming city of Ranger (Guess October 12, 2010). H. G. Sr. would eventually be replaced by Adams Jr., his son, as the head butcher for the store. H. G. Jr. would later assume the title of owner after his father’s death in 1964 (Adams, C. September 3, 2010). Adams Jr.’s son, Bobby, would also learn the art of butchering and help out in the store from the age of 14 on (Adams, B September 29, 2010).
The renown of Adams Grocery would stem from the excellence of its custom killing service (Guess October 12, 2010). The Adams raised cattle, fattened on a special food named “Adams Mix” from A. J. Ratliff’s feed store (Ratliff October 11, 2010). The livestock would then be butchered, skinned, and weighed for selling (Adams, B September 29, 2010). People would travel to Ranger from all across the various counties just to buy the fresh meat from Adams (Guess October 12, 2010).
Even after the oil boom faded, Adams Grocery never went a day without at least a chime or two on the bells hung above the door. Due to government regulations, the Adams can no longer raise and butcher their own cattle, but Bobby can order any type of meat desired and cut it according to the customer’s preference. Camilla Adams, Bobby’s mother, though stooped and white-haired, still greets every customer with a bright-eyed smile (Adams, C. September 3, 2010).
For the past 10 to 15 years, the main attractions for patrons of Adams Grocery include the welcoming atmosphere, friendly socialization, and delicious home-cooked lunches. The Adams do not have a menu; the lunch special or a custom-ordered sandwich are the choices. The regular lunch crew, who began eating at Adams when the establishment first started serving meals, is a lively bunch. When not busy tending to customers, Camilla may take a seat and chat with some of the usual characters including Charlie Wolford and Joy Felan. Even outsiders are welcomed into the group to eat and socialize (Lunch November 5, 2010).
To sum Adams Grocery up in one sentence, no one could have made as touching a statement as Mr. Wolford; “If you’re kinda down, you can come here and get happy.” (Lunch November 5, 2010).
Submitted by the Ranger College Creative Writing Class