HISTORY OF PASCO COUNTY
O’Quinn’s Grocery Store
By GLENDA (ROSIER) GOOLSBY
I don’t know when Huey and Florence O’Quinn came to Lacoochee and opened their grocery store. They were from Georgia, and they were two fine people.
I remember my dad, Roosevelt “Rosie” Rosier, working for them in the late 40’s and the 50’s. The O’Quinns treated our family as their family. Mama didn’t have to go to the store for groceries; Daddy always brought them home with him. Daddy cut the tip of his finger off while grinding hamburger meat for Mr. O’Quinn. I believe Buddy Weeks was working there that day.
Even after Daddy quit working for them, the O’Quinns remained family to us. If we had a family gathering they were always invited and they usually attended. When we walked out of the local hospital as Daddy was being moved to a Tampa hospital, the O’Quinns were waiting for us. They were as distraught as we were when Daddy died.
After Daddy was no longer employed by the O’Quinns, Mama would write her grocery list and send it to the store by Daddy. The O’Quinns would fill it and Cliff Doctor would deliver it. We were always happy on grocery day because we got candy and a cold soft drink. The soft drinks were in glass bottles and they were soooo good, especially on a hot summer day. We looked forward to seeing Cliff come, because he put the tailgate down on the truck and let us ride on the back down to the hard road. Of course, he drove slowly, but we were overjoyed. We lived on the second dirt road behind the old Lacoochee School.
My older brother, Wyley, went to work for the O’Quinns during his senior year of high school and worked there for a while after he married. He left there and managed the Sinclair station at the Crossroads until he went in the Army.
After my younger brother, Roy, grew up, he worked for the O’Quinns in their store. Also, years later when my son was in his early teens he worked for them mowing their lawn and working in the yard. One day he and his dad pulled up what they thought were weeds but wasn’t. Of course, I’m sure they didn’t appreciate it but the O’Quinns was not upset with them. They grew some of the prettiest camellias, and I told my son and husband that as long as it wasn’t camellias they were probably safe. Mrs. O’Quinn would cut camellias from her garden and bring them to work with her. She would float some of the blossoms in a dish and send them to Mama.
My son told me instead of “Tea Time” the O’Quinn’s had “Coke Time.” They drank one coke a day and it always had to be in a glass bottle. They would invite him in to have a coke with them. Sometimes he would have one if he was hot and thirsty.
Mildred Stephens, who later married my dad’s brother, Willard, worked at O’Quinns at the same time my dad worked there. I don’t know if Uncle Willard met Aunt Mildred there or not. I didn’t know until recently that my cousin, Nelson Rosier, also worked there as did my dad’s sister, Margree. Also, I just learned that my sister, Linda Tadlock worked there a short while.
My dad went to work for Badcock Furniture, driving a truck and delivering furniture and collecting payments. He would always stop and visit with the O’Quinns and have an ice-cold Coke with them. They always treated us like family when any of us went to their store.
They lived in a big two-story house in Dade City. There were citrus trees and pecan trees, & other trees all around it, and we use to enjoy picking up pecans and watching trains go by. They moved to a smaller house and a man rented the big house and took care of their property. After I was married and my husband served his duty in the Army, we rented the old house. My husband worked the night shift. One night after I had put our daughter to sleep and was getting ready for bed, I kept hearing noises. We were upstairs and it sounded like something was on the roof. I called the O’Quinns and Huey came and checked things out, deciding it was only squirrels on the roof. If you needed them, they were always there.
The O’Quinns did not have any children so I guess they sort of adopted us and many others, I’m sure. We loved them. They were certainly two of the finest people I have ever met.