October 03, 2014
Iris Harvey Smith 500px
Iris Harvey Smith​

Iris Harvey Smith grew up and spent her career with Harveys Supermarket, which began with the Harveys Cash Store that her father, Joseph Hillman Harvey, opened in Nashville, Ga. in 1924.

Of course, much has changed over the years since her earliest childhood memories of the family business as a child, but the store’s focus remains the same as Harveys nears the century mark, she said.

Smith retired from the family company in 2008 after managing the company’s popular “Recipe Corner” in print advertising since 1978. She was the company’s customer service director at that time and joined its board as a member in 1979. She oversaw the publishing of a book that included the recipes from over the years, “Harveys Best From the Recipe Corner,” in 2005.

She said she remembers that as she grew up the child of store chain founders Joe H and Ellie Harvey, there were a number of things that were normal in the store operations that have either been phased out or replaced with new technologies and practices.

“Harveys "Rolling Stores" went out into the countryside to sell groceries to people who could not get into town to buy groceries. (Few had cars),” she said.” Oftentimes they swapped produce, eggs and fowl for grocery staples which benefited the family and Cash Store. If the transaction was not an even swap, the customer was given Harveys ‘due bills,’ which were really cardboard coins of various denominations. These could be used as money in their next swap and exchange purchase in the Cash Store or Rolling Store. How I wish we had saved some of those ‘duebills’!”

Smith said she remembers when:

·        Curb service was given at Harvey’s Cash Store on the square in Nashville, Georgia.”

·        “Grocery clerks filled your grocery order.”

·        “Live chickens were sold and you prepared them for cooking!”

·        “Saturday was the busiest day of the week. Farmers came into town. Daddy was at least 11:00 p.m. getting home.”

·        “My Mother worked at the cash register on Saturdays.”

·        “As a teenager, I worked behind the drink box (iced with ice man's ice) and ice cream counter. (We probably sold more cold drinks and ice cream cones on Saturday than the drug stores).”

·        “Sugar, gasoline, rubber and shoes were rationed during World War II.”

Smith said that until 1985,Harveys stores were closed on Sundays. To remain competitive, that had to change. But amidst the adaptations the company has made over the years to accommodate changing times, its core values have consistently carried it into the future, she said.

“It gives me great pride to see the family name still used to designate a group of grocery stores that will claim the principles of 90 years ago,” she said. “Quality, Value and Service will endure into the 21st century and always! Today's competitive marketplace demands them. My best wishes for great success in the years to come!”

Iris Harvey Smith Inset 1.jpg

Iris Harvey Smith, right, shops at a Harveys Supermarket store with sons Agnew and Hill, in an undated photo.

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