Ricks to take over Courtland’s Flowers Exxon

Published 9:28 am Wednesday, December 15, 2010

COURTLAND—Margaret “Vickie” Ricks will make two changes when she takes over Flowers Exxon on Jan. 3.

The Boykins woman will change the Courtland convenience store’s name to Vickies Country Store and make it smoke-free.

“We’re not planning any major changes, and the number one option is we will keep the famous James Flowers’ hot dogs,” Ricks said.

James Flowers, 74, on Dec. 24 will retire from the gas station-store he’s owned for 57 years. Ricks was among four parties interested in taking over the business at 23427 Meherrin Road across from Southampton High School off Highway 58.

Flowers is pleased with the new owner.

“Well, I’m glad, and I hope everything turns out well for her,” he said. “I hope they can really do good.”

Ricks, who has worked at the Franklin Walmart since it opened 12 years ago, purchased the store’s stock. Parker Oil Co. in Boykins will continue to own the building.

“I’ve been going there myself for 13 years and my husband (Jimmie Ricks) has been going there since he was big enough to walk,” she said. “If the store wasn’t kept open, it would affect the community so much. For so many people, it’s a homey place to visit.”

Known as Courtland’s gossip central, Flowers Exxon has been around for more than 100 years. Flowers purchased it in 1953 for his mother, the late Evie Flowers. At the time, he worked for a farm supply business, and the station was known as Carter’s.

Evie Flowers lived next-door and operated the business until she was 81. James Flowers took over 36 years ago.

Under new ownership, the store will be open 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Ricks, who also worked at Leggett Department Store for 23 years, doesn’t immediately plan to hire any employees.