Sutton’s bakery delivered smells to remember

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Back in the 40s, 50s and even early-to-mid 60s, much of Atmore’s business income came from route sales, and three merchants paved the way for those daily and weekly route treks.

I am talking about Sandy Furney, Dee Gibbs and Adolph (Doc) Sutton Sr. Sandy owned Atmore Bakery, Dee operated Dee Gibbs Gasoline Distributers, and Doc owned Rock-Olas (Juke Boxes) in a three-county area.

If you patronized most any local, or outlying restaurant or small café, you probably saw Doc come in with a stack of new recordings for the juke box. He always kept the popular tunes out front, tunes that lured you to the dance floor or lent to easy listening. You knew he was finished loading when he dropped a few coins in the slots for the patrons so they could sit back and enjoy. He was very knowledgeable about his records. He knew what was popular with the public and he knew when to take out the recordings when their popularity wore off.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Doc kept a smile on his face when he did his route work. It was evident that he enjoyed making those record changes and talking with the patrons who looked on. He operated this business for many years and brought in Doc Jr., who carried it on for the final years of operation. Doc Jr. also had his dad’s smile and charm as he went about his work of changing out those records. Sadly, Doc Jr. passed away last week. An outstanding football player both in high school and college he was regarded as a successful business man. By the way Doc Jr. was responsible for bringing our first bowling alley several years ago.

Sandy Furney was another route man who called on every grocery store, large and small, in the Atmore area. Not only did he deliver loaves of tasty fresh bread, but he sold it in his South Main Street Bakery, as well. Merchants on his route could almost set their clocks and watches by the punctuality of his service.

Folks here always enjoyed their strolls in front of his South Main building to get a whiff of that freshly cooked bread. You could almost smell it everywhere on that street.

Dee Gibbs was the Pure Oil and Gas distributor. His most famous brand was WOCO PEP. That’s the brand my dad sold at his service station in the early 1940s. Dee delivered to dozens of service stations in the Armore area-one station far away as Stockton. And, as a small boy, my parents gave him permission on occasions to let me ride with him from Perdido to that Stockton station, where he would take me by to see my aunt who was the post mistress there. I’d find time to visit with her son, Frank Stanton.

Not only did Dee contribute to Atmore’s economy but he also was well regarded in local politics mainly serving on the cith council.

In later years, there were other route men who contributed to our city’s success. I think of people like gasoline distributor Joe Everette and all the folks at Alston Candy Company and Graham Brooks Foods and Service.

There is one more distributor in the 1940s that I can barely remember because I was too young. My dad called him Mr. Godwin. He was the man who delivered ice for our “cold drink box” at our service station. Back then ice delivery was important to many, not in their businesses but also in their homes.

Well, now here is a 180 degree turn around by our governor. After having fought gambling in our state since he was elected to office, he has gone on record recently in favor of casino gambling. I do not know why he has made this drastic change as he was so opposed to it earlier. Some blame it on his marital problems while some say he now believes taxes from this sport will prove beneficial to the state especially since the state’s current budget is totally out of line. His actions are so positive for Montgomery’s Milton McGregor that he is moving full speed ahead readying his Victoryland Casino and dog track for a reopening soon. McGregor says 3500 jobs will be available when reopening occurs.

I was told one leading media person says Gov. Robert Bentley wants the casinos at the state’s four dog tracks with Dothan making an additional bid. Our local tribe owns the Mobile dog track. I am not sure what their requirements to pay taxes would be. Establishing these new casinos would be unwelcome news to the Creeks I am sure. However, consideration should be given to the tribe’s outpouring of money to groups and causes in our area.

It is my information we will be hearing more the state’s casino issues and a possible lottery after the first of the year.

Speaking of the Poarch Indians, this is the week for their big Pow Wow. As always folks, not just Indians, will pour in to watch and engage in the festive activities. It is worth a drive out there just to buy some of their famous roasted corn. Only they know to prepare this delicacy.

We will have more news from years gone by next week.