Golden Pantry Chain Will Live on Despite Founder's Passing

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Golden Pantry Chain Will Live on Despite Founder's Passing


WATKINSVILLE, Ga. — The legacy that Tom Griffith left with the Golden Pantry chain will continue to live on despite the founder's passing.

"It's an integral part of who we are," said grandson Robert Griffith, the convenience store retailer's president. "We're proud of what he created and the legacy we're able to continue."

Griffith died at age 88 on Sept. 30 from trauma caused by an accidental fall.

The industry veteran got his start delivering groceries on his bicycle during his early childhood. He attended the University of Georgia and founded Golden Pantry Food Stores Inc. in 1965. Today, the c-store chain has 38 locations.

Griffith lived long enough to see a new innovative Golden Pantry store that opened in downtown Athens, Ga., at The Mark, a new apartment high rise. The non-fuel c-store is very different from the retailer's traditional concept, reported Online Athens.

"I'm very grateful he got to see it. He had a big smile on his face. He enjoyed seeing what the next generation of his business had created," Robert remarked. "My grandfather and the original founding partners back in 1965 set in motion something that was bigger than all of them. This was his life's work. He lived and breathed this company."

The family plans to carry on the Golden Pantry spirit. "It's an integral part of who we are," he added. "We're proud of what he created and the legacy we're able to continue."

Griffith played a significant role in the convenience store industry, founding and serving as president of the Georgia Association of Convenience Stores. He served as president and chairman of NACS, the National Association of Convenience Stores, and became the first Southeast c-store inductee in the Food Industry Hall of Fame.

The Navy veteran was also heavily invested in the political arena, as well as the community. Throughout his tenure, he:

  • Served on the board of the Business Council of Georgia;
  • Served as chairman of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources;
  • Served as a board member of the Georgia Department of Economic Development;
  • Served as president of the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce;
  • Was appointed Lieutenant Colonel, Aide De Camp, Governor's Staff by Governor Roy G. Barnes; and
  • Participated on multiple civic charities and organizations. 

Griffith was awarded the Key to the City of Athens by Mayor Nancy Denson on the 50th anniversary of Golden Pantry Food Stores.