By Alyssa Schnugg
On any given morning it’s not usual to see local folks at Lindsey’s Chevron sitting at the tables, chatting about their previous day, sipping on coffee and enjoying breakfast freshly made for them by the folks in the kitchen.
Owner Lindsey Hill often joins them – for a little while anyway until he gets back to work.
In a few weeks, Hill might join them again at the tables in the morning but it won’t be as an owner.
He’ll be a customer.
After 33 years, Hill is retiring. His last day at Lindsey’s as owner will be May 2.
Hill and his wife, Angela have owned Lindsey’s since 1989, although it hasn’t always been a convenience store. Prior to 2001, when the store was built, it was a full-service repair shop and gas station.
The store won’t close, Hill said. It will be taken over by someone else, but he stopped short of revealing the new owner’s name. He said that’s a story for another time.
“They want to keep operating it as it is,” Hill said. “They’re going to continue the meals – breakfast and lunch and keep the chicken salad, pimento cheese and all that.”
After retirement, Hill said he plans on continuing to work on Angela’s family farm.
“Might do a little fishing,” he said.
While the store and gas station provides a convenient stop for gas, snacks and coffee, its food has been a major reason for so many repeat customers.
Each day a hot breakfast and lunch are cooked in the kitchen behind the service counter. Many of the recipes are as old, if not older than Lindsey’s itself, especially the popular chicken salad and pimento cheese. Those recipes come from the late Leonard Levy who once owned the Jitney Jungle store that was located where the Lafayette County Chancery Building currently sits.
“Everything is handmade here,” Hill said. “We still also make the original apricot strudel from Mr. Levy’s wife’s recipe.”
Since the store addition was built, the kitchen has been home to several local cooks who have fed their fair share of Oxonians and visitors – from Vernale Dunn and Patty Pruitt to the current cooking duo, Terry Cain and Jasmine Buford.
The Hills said they will miss their customers and the relationships they have formed with them over the years.
“Made some really good friends,” Angela said. “Our goal has always been to treat every customer as family and that’s the atmosphere that we’ve tried to have.”
The feeling is mutual among Lindsey’s customers.
Six years ago, Sandra Bruner lost her husband and found herself needing to find comfort among friends.
“It was such a welcoming group that I went every day – Monday through Friday,” Bruner said. “Lindsey and the gang have brought so, so, so much joy into my life. Myself and my family of Lindsey’s friends will be so sad without him. I do wish Lindsey the best.”
Among the regulars each morning are a scattering of law enforcement uniforms from just about every department around Oxford – including the Oxford Police Department and the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department.
“Lindsey’s has been serving deputies in some form for at least 20 years,” said LCSD Maj. Alan Wilburn “The staff has always been good to us. The food is always great – the chicken salad is the best around. I always get a family welcome when I go in. I was very saddened to hear Lindsey was leaving. He will definitely be missed and we appreciate him taking care of us all these years.”
The employees at Lindsey’s said they will miss the Hills and the feeling of coming to work among family each day, but look toward the future with hope.
Dana Toma has been at Lindsey’s for seven years. Each day, she rides her bike to work.
“When it was snowing, Lindsey came to my home to get me and when it’s raining he takes me home,” she said. “He’s been very good to us.”