WATKINSVILLE, Ga. — This year is truly golden for one Georgia convenience store chain. Golden Pantry is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
The retailer opened its first store in the summer of 1965 in the Five Points neighborhood of Athens to meet the needs of area residents and students at the University of Georgia. The flagship store and landmark sign still remain, according to the company.
For Tom Griffith, founder of Golden Pantry convenience stores, the past 50 years have been about family, according to the Athens Banner-Herald.
"All four of my sons have worked at Golden Pantry at one time or another, three of them still do work there, and I am pleased with that," Griffith said. "The third generation is now involved in the business, and I’m very happy about that. It gives me a good feeling of longevity. The current leadership at the company — that is the end of my dream, really."
When he opened the first store on July 3, 1965, Griffith was not thinking 50 years down the road. Instead, he was just focused on the day-to-day running of the company, the news outlet reported.
"I was so busy trying to make the next day show up that I never gave it any thought," he recalled.
Now retired and with his sons running the company, Griffith said the dream he never had time to consider has been realized. "A dream came true. It makes me feel very good."
Today, Griffith's son Brian is president of the company. His sons Steve and Mike are both involved, and his grandson Robert is also working with Golden Pantry. Another son, Chris, previously worked at the retail chain.
Griffith told the Athens Banner-Herald he knows how uncommon it is for a business to make it to the 50-year milestone.
"Being a second-generation person in this business, it's pretty awesome," he said. "Talking to a lot of people in business, in family businesses, there are not many of them that make it to the 50-year mark. Now, it's my job to try to think how we’re going to make it to 100."
Watkinsville-based Golden Pantry operates 39 stores in Northeast Georgia.