Breckenridge Texan

Breckenridge grocery business moves into new era as United’s Lee Olson retires

Breckenridge grocery business moves into new era as United’s Lee Olson retires
September 13
11:33 2020

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

Almost 50 years ago, Lee Olson started to work at Buddie’s Grocery in the 1200 block of Breckenridge’s West Walker Street, and on Saturday, Sept. 12, he retired from the grocery business in that same building, which is now a United Supermarket where Olson has been the Store Director for the past three years.

United Supermarkets Regional Vice President Mark Yowell, right, presents Lee Olson with a plaque at his retirement celebration on Thursday. Olson, center, was joined by his daughter, Abby Olson Moore, left, and his wife, Beverly Turner Olson. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

For most of the years in between, he worked across the street at Ray’s Grocery and Market, which was started in 1974 by his wife Beverly’s parents, the late Ray and Ima Jean Turner. In 2017, the Olsons decided to close Ray’s after 43 years, and Lee took his brand of customer service back across the street to work for United.

On Thursday morning, Sept. 10, a crowd of local citizens, United Supermarkets employees and Olson’s family gathered in the store to wish him a happy retirement. Mark Yowell, the Regional Vice President for United’s Wichita Falls/Abilene area, was on hand for the event.

“Lee was the perfect match for us to lead our store and service our customers,” Yowell said as he presented Olson with a plaque. “We have a couple of awards at United, and, really, Lee just fills all of them, so we came up with ‘Ultimate Service.’ We want to thank Lee for serving the Breckenridge community…because he served it with a true servant’s heart, which is the way United wants to serve our guests.”

Olson addressed the crowd, pointing out fellow United employees and acknowledging their hard work in the daily business, as well as customers he’s known for many years. “Our goal is to make sure that every day we treat every person the way we want to treat — I always say treat them like you treat your grandmother, because you might get mad at your mama, but you don’t get mad your grandmother — and so, we treat them that way,” Olson said. “(United’s) ideals and our ideals were a perfect match. I loved my store, but I couldn’t have finished in a better spot.”

During his time running Ray’s Grocery, Olson was joined by his wife, Beverly, who helped run the store and took care of the accounting side of the business. For part of that time, they also worked together operating a local photography studio.

Now, Olson said, he plans to take it easy and enjoy spending time with his family. He’ll have time for some hobbies and may even get back into photography, he said.

As Olson embraces retirement, Cody Dunson is moving into the position of Store Director for Breckenridge’s United Supermarket. Dunson is moving to Breckenridge from Vernon with his wife, Melissa, and their kids, Jordan, 13, and Jaelyn, 4.

Dunson was born and raised in Vernon and has worked for United since 2000, working his way up from entry-level employee to assistant store director before accepting his new job in Breckenridge.

“Over the years, I’ve had opportunities to move, but it never felt right,” he said. “Being in Vernon my whole life, I was almost nervous to move, but then my first day here, just meeting the people who have been so friendly and so welcoming, I know this is definitely the right place to be.

“I have just been amazed at how friendly the community is and how welcoming they are,” Dunson continued. “We’re extremely excited about the opportunity. We’re happy to be here.”

Dunson is already living in Breckenridge, and his family will join him later this month after they wrap up some details in Vernon.

“Cody is the best fit to pick up where Lee left off,” Yowell said. “They believe the same beliefs.”

Lee Olson, center, celebrated his retirement from United Supermarket on Thursday with his wife, Beverly, and daughter, Abby Olson Moore, and a crowd of Breckenridge citizens and United employees. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: Lee Olson, center, thanks United Supermarkets Regional Vice President Mark Yowell, right, and the others in attendance at Olson’s retirement celebration on Thursday. Olson was joined by his wife, Beverly Turner Olson, and his daughter Abby Olson Moore, as well as many members of the community and United staff. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

 

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