Established in 1928 are words that will always sets my mouth to watering. I have a deep love for old. Old people, old businesses, old motorbikes, old rib joints-if it’s old my curiosity is always going to be piqued.

Brookshire Grocery company was founded in 1928 by Wood T. and Louise Brookshire on the town square in Tyler, Texas. The business was a splinter off the original Brookshire Brothers which sprung to life in Lufkin{!} in 1921. W.T broke Brookshire Grocery Company off from the family in 1939 {opening East Texas’ first air conditioned market} and never looked back. Small towns in Texas would look a lot different these days if Brookshire Grocery company wasn’t present. Under marques that include Brookshire’s, FRESH by Brookshire’s, Super 1 Foods, and Olé Foods there are 151 markets sprawling all over the great state as well as Louisiana and Arkansas.

Of particular interest is the Brookshire chain’s love of sausage. Anytime I’m in rural Texas and spot one of their stores, I wheel in and head straight to the meat market. I’ve found many micro-sausage makers in their refrigerators.

Brookshire’s has a similar business model to Hardee’s. The Tyler-based grocer opens in towns that are small enough to have escaped the scrutiny of HEB, but large enough to provide a steady revenue stream to the corporation. Hardee’s is famous for going into tiny markets where McDonald’s and Burger King fear to tread and earning a good living off townfolk desperate for their much treasured fast food.

Great quote from Rick Rayford, president and CEO of Brookshire’s “We learned early on that to survive in this tough business, you have to know how to compete with Walmart.”

If you’re ever in Tyler make sure to stop into Brookshire’s World of Wildlife Museum and Country Store, an utterly bizarre romp through the wildlife of Africa and North America featuring Grizzly bears, lions, foxes and dioramas such as a group of monkeys gathered around a table playing poker.

WT and Louise were Afro-centric and enjoyed many trips to the continent.

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