Gavin fills Fayette homes
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Ray Gavin is pictured near the meat case in the store he's owned in Fayette for the past 25 years. The store still cuts meat to order and makes its own bratwurst in addition to offering in-house baked goods.
Gavin fills Fayette homes
In a time when many small businesses are becoming part of a larger corporation in order to survive, Fayette's hometown grocery is still owned by the guy who came to Fayette looking to make his own way in the grocery business after growing up on a farm near Harper's Ferry.
Ray Gavin came to Fayette 25 years ago, joined the Jaycees and a slow-pitch softball team, and met his future wife, Karla, then a UIU softball coach.
A quarter of a century later, it's safe to say just about everyone in Fayette knows Ray Gavin and his love for a good joke. Even before the sun comes up, Gavin can be found behind the meat counter at his store, prepping for the day. A few yards away in the bakery, beginning at 6 a.m., dough is going into the industrial ovens. Lois Shurtleff or Marla Aller – depending on the day – is responsible for those fabulous aromas of fresh bread.
Bismarcks, breads, and long johns are among the most popular freshly baked goods patrons of Gavin's IGA know they can find on the shelves just outside the in-house bakery.
Gavin admits that while freshly baked goods are a popular commodity, maintaining a bakery in such a small town can be a challenge. He has eliminated offering custom-decorated cakes because it was so labor-intensive.
But as for the baked goods themselves, he said he maintains a hands-off attitude except when it comes to quality control.
"I don't want to know what's going on because I might have to help out!" he said with a laugh and his characteristic grin.
The store owner said that competing against big box stores like Walmart in all aspects of the grocery business has been tough, but he'd like to think the services he provides are still appreciated.
For many years local folks have been ordering Gavin’s-baked buns for their graduation parties, wedding receptions and even funerals. The Fayette Fire Department is a regular customer for its annual fundraisers. Other groups may not order the in-house buns or dinner rolls, but still rely on the grocery for their other products and ingredients for fundraisers.
During the town's annual Watermelon Days, Gavin's provides the watermelons and orders some of the refreshments for the runners following the road race.
Another annual event that has Gavin's playing a big role is the Holy Name fish fry in West Union. Gavin's IGA orders 1,500 pounds of fish, which arrives in 40 lb. boxes, for the popular fish fry each year.
"It's all just part of the business," closed Gavin, along with donating to the many causes and charities who come knocking on the grocery's door.