A Family Tradition Continues at DeLaughter’s Grocery in Redwater
When Kyle DeLaughter was a little boy, he never dreamed that he’d one day take over his parents’ grocery stores. But now the charming bachelor is one of Redwater’s most beloved business owners.
Steve and Vicki DeLaughter opened DeLaughter’s Grocery in Redwater in 1977. They ran the store, and a second location in Maud, Texas for 30 years.
Born in 1983, Kyle remembers growing up at the store with his older sister. “We used to have a lot of fun getting on the microphone as kids,” he says. “But I really never had an interest in running the place.”
In a town with just over 1,000 residents, Kyle came to know many of the people who lived in Redwater and shopped at his parents’ store. “They all watched me grow up,” he says. When he was old enough, he bagged groceries for many of the customers.
After graduating from high school, Kyle went to college at Texas A&M in College Station. At that point, he didn’t think he’d return to the sleepy town where he grew up. “I wasn’t sure what I’d do, but it wasn’t this,” he says.
After graduation, Kyle took a job at a Cadillac dealership in Dallas selling cars. “I didn’t like that job,” he says. “I just couldn’t see doing that forever, and the family business started to make more sense.” A year later he moved back home.
Six years ago, Kyle officially became owner of DeLaughter’s Grocery. Although he admits that he misses Dallas where his sister still lives, he likes being back in Redwater and enjoys the sense of community that the residents value there.
“People like the convenience of shopping at DeLaughter’s because they can get in and get out. They like our hamburgers, pizzas, fried chicken and fresh meat,” Kyle says. The store has two full-time butchers who cut meat daily. “But I think they really shop here because of the friendly faces,” he says.
Another reason Kyle is so well liked in Redwater is because he has always taken his responsibility as a business owner seriously. “I have the opportunity to help,” he says. The store has 35 employees, many who have been with the store for as many as 20 years.
“Whenever someone is hurt or gets sick in the community, folks let me know on Facebook,” Kyle says. “Since I have a building and business, I can help by holding a bake sale or garage sale here to raise money for those that need it.”
At one recent fundraiser, the community had a garage sale in the store’s parking lot and raised several thousand dollars for Haley James, a woman Kyle went to school with.
But the accomplishment Kyle is perhaps most proud of is the scholarship fund he started in 2009. He pays for every touchdown the Redwater High School team scores at home. “This is so much fun,” he says. “Fans get into it because every time a touchdown is scored, the announcer says ‘That’s another $100 donation from DeLaughter’s Grocery!’”
Last year, Kyle promised to pay $100 per touchdown and it became the most costly game of his career. “Redwater played Queen City one night and they scored nine touchdowns,” Kyle says. “It was an expensive Friday night, but it was so much fun. I loved it!”
Since the scholarship’s inception, Kyle has doled out $4,500 to four graduating seniors. Because no students qualified for scholarships last year, the money earned will roll over to this year’s pot, potentially making the upcoming school year the best yet for scholarship recipients.
Kyle says he supports the athletes and band because they are a symbol of the school and ultimately they represent the residents of Redwater. The scholarship allows him to demonstrate his appreciation for all the students’ hard work.
To find out more about DeLaughter’s Grocery, visit the store’s website where customers can order hamburgers and pizza online. Follow the store’s Facebook page to get discounts and ad information every Wednesday.
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