HOMEGROWN: Dorsey Food Mart

By Adam Armour/Itawamba County Times

Dorsey Food Mart

Owner: Tim Gillentine
Address: 3130 Highway 178, Dorsey
Phone: (662) 862-3851
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday noon to 6 p.m.
Established: 1981
Employees: 15
Primary business: Grocery retail
Website: http://www.dorseyfoodmart.com

Dorsey Food Mart is part of a dying breed – the small, independently-owned grocery store.
Once a staple of small town America, these family-owned stores have gradually been replaced by the expansive retail chains of the modern era.
But store owner Tim Gillentine, his wife Terri, and the rest of their 13 employees just keep doing what they do best: running the best family-owned business they can.
“It’s all I’ve ever done,” Gillentine said, adding that before to opening his own grocery business in 1981, he worked for Walker’s Big Star, another locally-owned grocery store.
He said going into business for himself was a big step, but one he hasn’t regretted.
“We started small and grew,” he said.
When asked if he could offer any advice to other small business owners, he laughed and shrugged.
“Oh, I don’t know,” he said.
From the background, his wife offered her advice: “Don’t have your wife working for you,” she said.
Gillentine laughed and waved away this suggestion. In its place, he offered that anyone who wants to succeed in owning his or her own business should, first and foremost, love the work.
“I really enjoy the merchandising part of my job,” Gillentine said. “Taking a meat case that’s empty, filling it up and making it shine. Make it bloom. The shelves, too. I don’t like empty shelves.”
Most of all, though, Gillentine’s job involves seeing and working with people. They are the bread and butter, so to speak, and what Gillentine claimed to be his favorite aspect of being a small business owner.
“I just enjoy meeting and talking with people,” he said. “You see the same people every day. You know them.”
The Gillentines said customers stop in their little store for all kinds of reasons: It’s quicker and easier than a large chain store and the selection is different. They said they have a lot of customers who shop at the large retail stores, but have a die-hard loyalty to smaller stores like Dorsey Food Mart.
Mostly, it’s because they like the Gillentines.
“People with little kids will come in here and they’ll have to give Tim a hug before they go to school,” Terri said.

adam.armour@journalinc.com