By Don McAlvy: Columnist
The oldest family owned grocery store in Clovis in 1985 was the Less Hubby & Son’s Food Market. The founder, Less Hubby, was born Less Leslie Hubby in Arkansas in 1908.
Less arrived in Clovis about 1921 when he was 13.
His aunt, Fronie Buxton, came to Clovis in 1917 when her husband John was transferred here by the Santa Fe Railway. Fronie Buxton went back to Arkansas in about 1920 and brought back the four oldest Hubby boys, her nephews, to get jobs on the railroad here.
But Less never found work with the railroad. He was destined to be a groceryman.
Less said they came from Arkansas in a “low-gear” Ford truck that looked like a school bus and had four windows in it. It took a week to get here and they found no paved roads except in Oklahoma City and Amarillo.
Less was about 15 when he started working for Bob Hatley at his market on West Grand. Hatley had a horse and buggy and Less would visit around 10 customers, take their grocery orders, go back to the store and fill the order and take it back to the customer.
He earned $4 a week.
In 1929, Less was working as a clerk in the H & H Grocery Store on Main Street, owned and operated by Harry Highfill and Paul Williamson. Less also worked for Welch’s Red and White Grocery that was three or four doors south of the Lyceum Theatre. It was run by James Y. Branham.
By 1932 there were 27 small grocery stores spread over Clovis, then a town of about 8,000 or 9,000 citizens.
The first chain store in Clovis was Piggy-Wiggly, coming in about the early 1920s. It was the first national store to begin the practice of “help-yourself” as opposed to the owner or clerk getting your items off the shelf. It was located just north of the Lyceum Theatre.
Safeway was the second chain store in Clovis.
In 1934 Furr’s came to town, buying the Louis Food Store at 10th and Main. By 1938 they had a second store at Fourth and Pile.
In 1939 Less Hubby was working as a clerk in the Clovis Food Market at 416 Pile, which was operated by Jack Massey. Then in 1941 Glen
Firestone asked Less Hubby if he wanted to buy out the 915 Wallace store, stock, shelves and fixtures. The price was $485 and on top of that the rent would be $50 a month. Less had to borrow, but managed to scrape up the cash.
His wife — the former Naoma “Jiggs” Roberts — was pregnant with Ka’un, so it was a big decision, but Hubby regretted not a day of it. Dwayne Hubby had been born in 1931 and right about the time he graduated in 1949 he married Pat, the daughter of Mott Williams.
Dwayne kind of grew up in the store.
In 1961 Hubby moved to the corner of 14th and Wallace, the site of the old Nance Grocery store. Over the years Less and his family won a lot of customers with their personal touch, the secret of their success.
Less Hubby passed away on April 10, 1998.