Philadelphia, Miss. (WJTV) – Everyone knows about Peyton Manning’s father, Archie Manning, the Ole Miss Quarterback from Drew, Mississippi. But did you know his mother, Olivia, is from Neshoba County, and her family owns and operates a legendary store?
Ken South takes us to Williams Brothers General Store in Philadelphia.
On a cold January 2014 morning, the Williams Brothers General Store was bustling with business.
It’s a family business that opened in 1907 by Sid Williams’ grandparents.
Sid and his cousin Jane are the 3rd generation to run the store, but most of the family, at some point, has spent time here.
“I grew up working here and all the family – my brothers, sisters and I mean everybody, cousins, everybody that’s been a part of the family has grown up working here,” Sid Williams said.
Family photos are posted throughout the store and that includes a few famous sons.
“I don’t know if you can see. This is Peyton when he was a little bitty boy. He’s got a football in his hand,” said Williams.
Sid’s nephews are Cooper, Peyton and Eli Manning, and yes, they worked here too.
“We tell people that’s how his arm got so strong. When he sliced bacon we wouldn’t turn the machine on, so we’d just make him push it,” he said.
“Eli Manning stood right there and sacked groceries and I would check them,” said Eli’s great aunt Peggy Dees.
“He didn’t talk. He didn’t carry on any foolishness. He really wanted to do his job well,” she said. “He took sacking groceries just as serious as I guess he plays football,” Dees continued on to say.
That work ethic runs in the family.
“I tell people that my office is the bacon slicer,” Williams said.
Williams Brothers is popular for sliced bacon and sharp cheddar cheese shipped in each month from Wisconsin. Alongside the groceries and farm equipment, customers can also shop for blue jeans, women’s clothes and dozens of shoe brands.
“It’s a general merchandise store and all through the years we’ve stayed a general merchandise store, said Williams.”A lot of people said we were too dumb to change and now it’s kind of paying off.”
“One of our slogans is: here at Williams Brothers the good old days are still here,” Williams said.
And so are the customers. It’s the tradition and the family values the people of Neshoba County have embraced, and it keeps them coming back.
“I’m grateful that they do. I know we love them, and we appreciate everybody that walks through that door, every customer,” Peggy Dees remarked.