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Greater Tulsa Reporter

Payton’s Grocery Enjoyed A Long History in Jenks


FAMILY HERITAGE: The Payton family stands outside Payton’s Corner, a Jenks staple that was built on the southwest corner of 91st Street and Highway 75 in 1953.

Fred and Callie Payton and their four children, Loretta, Homer, Junior and Betty Lou, lived in Tulsa.  

In 1936, Fred, who was employed by Mid-Continent Oil Company, leased a grocery store/station on the northwest corner of 91st Street and Highway 75 (now Union Avenue) and moved his family to live in the back of the store. 

The store was small, but, as their business grew, they kept adding on to the store. 

People could run a line of credit to pay for their groceries until they would sell their crops and then pay off their debt. Some farmers sold their eggs to the store in order to buy groceries. Times were hard, and everyone pitched in to help out where they could. Fred delivered groceries to people who did not own a car. The station had a garage with an oil rack; Homer, the oldest son, started servicing cars. There was also an ice dock, and the men in the family ran an ice route until the sons were drawn into WWII.

Because not many people had phones in the early years of the business, Payton’s Grocery served as the area phone for many of the nearby families. Phones were the crank kind, and everyone that had a phone was on a party line and could listen to each other’s phone calls.

Jenks and the surrounding area would occasionally flood, and the Red Cross would use the store as its headquarters for staging the rescues of people in need of help. During the times the store was being used by the Red Cross, it would stay open 24 hours a day.

In 1953, Highway 75 was widened and encroached on the business so the family built a new larger store across the street on the southwest corner of 91st Street and Highway 75. The store thrived in the new building. After Fred died in 1955, his wife, Callie, continued to live at the store and run it with the help of her children and grandchildren until her death in 1970. 

Betty Payton Hargrove, one of Fred and Callie’s daughters, and husband, Kenneth, and four sons continued to successfully operate the store until retirement in 1991. Since that time, the store has been leased out and still serves people in the area as Payton’s Corner.

Note: The back part of the original store, which was the family’s living quarters, still stands on the northwest corner and is also owned by Betty Hargrove.

Updated 01-08-2018

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