MOBILE / BIRMINGHAM – For five generations spanning 100 years, Greers have owned and operated Autry Greer & Sons Inc., now doing business as Greer’s Markets. The Mobile-based grocer has 32 stores – 19 in Alabama, 10 in Mississippi and three in Florida. Three of its stores have an Ace Hardware Express associated with them. The Alabama Retail Association honored Autry Greer & Sons Inc. today as an Alabama Centennial Retailer, a retailer with 100 or more years in business in Alabama.
Autry Greer opened the first store at the northwest corner of Water and St. Michael streets in Mobile in 1916. It was the first and, for a long time, the only store in Mobile to advertise prices. Autry’s three sons – Autry Vidmer “Jack” Greer, Joseph Barton Greer, Sr. and Elijah Sumner “Bussie” Greer – were active in the business for more than 60 years. The current owners are J. Barton “Bartee” Greer Jr. and Jack V. Greer Sr., grandsons of the founder; along with Jack “Jackie” V. Greer Jr. and Robert A. Greer, great-grandsons of Autry Greer.
The founder’s great-grandsons lead the day-to-day operations, but they are grooming the next generation to take the helm of the family business. “It is really a joy to be able to work with your daughter, your nephews and son-in-laws. It has its challenges, but everybody respects each other. It is all about love,” said Jackie Greer.
The Greer family isn’t the only family working at Greer’s Markets. “We have so many associates who have had parents and grandparents who have worked with us over the last 100 years,” said Lucy Greer, company spokeswoman and one of the fifth generation Greers employed by the business.
Robert Greer said, “We like to treat everybody like they are a part of the Greer family. We have about 800 associates, and they are on the team. They work with us, not for us. We are really fortunate to have some really good people working with the company. They have helped us perpetuate the company and continue it for 100 years.”
The Alabama Greer’s Markets are in Bay Minette, Bayou La Batre, Eight Mile, Fairhope, Grand Bay, Grove Hill, McIntosh, Millry, Mobile, Prichard, Robertsdale, Theodore and Semmes. In Mobile, six locations serve neighborhoods in the downtown, Midtown, Crichton and Cottage Hill areas. “Our family is honored to serve each of the Alabama communities where we operate and look forward to serving each and every family in those communities for another 100 years,” said Jan Greer Endfinger, director of human resources and marketing.
Autry Greer & Sons Inc. today received a bronze plaque to commemorate its 100 years in business during the 2016 Retail Day luncheon in Birmingham.
“For a business to survive the dramatic changes of the past century is a remarkable achievement,” said ARA President Rick Brown. “It is fitting to celebrate the enduring contributions Autry Greer & Sons Inc. has made to Mobile and all of the communities in the three states where it operates.”
The Alabama Retail Association represents retailers, the largest private employer in the state of Alabama, before the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Through sales of food, clothing, furniture, medicine and more, our 4,100 independent merchant and national company members touch almost every aspect of daily living. Since 1943, we’ve worked to promote what’s best for the retail industry in Alabama. Whether voicing the retail view when public policy is made, educating members about issues that impact them, negotiating rates for benefits and services or communicating the retail story, the Alabama Retail Association and its members are better together.