Why this man says running a small neighborhood store made him rich, not wealthy

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — For this week’s Pass It On, an entire family of playmakers wanted to help a man who gave them many happy memories.

Meet the Garrisons! Father Tommy, mother Dorothy, daughter Sandra, and her sister Carolyn Garrison Walker.

They all used to live in South Memphis and have fond memories of their neighborhood grocery store.

For 45 years, owner Irvin Jackson served the Elliston Heights community, and while his homemade cold-cut sandwiches and coleslaw were legendary, it was his kindness the Garrisons remember most.

“It was a family store. He counted us as family. He had pictures of everybody hanging on the wall and we were family and we miss him a lot. The store closed, and it’s not going to open and it’s not the same.”

It’s been a rough year. Mr. Jackson’s first-born son who helped run the store died unexpectedly, and Mr. Jackson is just out of the hospital after a five-week hospital stay.

He’s 83 now, and had to shut the store for good. Sandra’s been worried about the toll it must be taking.

“All I could think about is, he’s not going to be here anymore. We haven’t done anything for him. He’s always done something for us. We don’t know what he needs because he never says anything about what he needs.”

We followed the Garrisons to the Jacksons’ house. They came prepared, so that with balloons and cameras rolling, it felt like a Publisher’s Clearing House moment.

The Jacksons were expecting company, but it took a minute to realize what was really going on.

After the Garrisons Pass It On, Mr. Jackson said he didn’t get wealthy running his store, but he did get rich — with customers who became friends.

“Do you miss the store?”

“Quite a bit!”

The Garrisons let the Jacksons know, they’re missed too.

The Jacksons haven’t had a car because they couldn’t afford a new fuel pump for their SUV. Now they do.

6 comments

  • FacePalm

    What a great group of friends, he is indeed wealthy. I would take that kind of wealth over money any day.

  • Danielle

    Mr. Jackson and his store were the cornerstone of the neighborhood for many years. I’m proud to be part of the Garrison family as well. Thanks News Channel 3 for helping us to pass it on!

  • Ken poi

    Did you see the way his wife with after the money? And did you see the way he wouldn’t turn it loose ?

  • Elizabeth Ann Garrison-Weaver

    I grew up in this neighborhood, but now I live in Florida. I am truly going to miss Mr. Jackson and Jackson’s Grocery Store because every time I come home, I stop in and get me a sausage sandwich with coleslaw and orange cupcakes. Those were the good ole days. If you grew up in this neighborhood, you know what I’m talking about. If you didn’t have any money to pay for your grocery, Mr. Jackson would put it on a tab and you could pay him later. HE IS DEFINITELY MISSED.

  • Shelia Sinquefield

    This is a truly wonderful story about a very generous man that was able to have people say to him how much they appreciated his kindness, instead of waiting until he is gone then say how wonderful he was. Glad I watched this today!

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