By Toni W. Riley
In today’s fast-paced, in-a-hurry lifestyle, it’s easy to miss the little things that might provide a positive boost throughout the day.
Examples of those “little things” are the motivational messages on each side of the marquee at Buy-Rite Parts and Supply store on Skyline Drive.
The inspiration for these messages came from owner Jeff Davis during the summer of 2014. Davis returned from a Baptist convention and wanted to put encouraging memos on the sign. Since then, each month, the marquee boasts a new message on each side.
While it was Davis’ idea, store manager Justin Oxford has been the stimulus to keep new messages up on a regular basis.
Oxford’s own story adds special meaning to the importance of the messages.
He remembers how important the little things were to him growing up in a single-parent household. His mother, who is from Hawaii, came to the Hopkinsville area as a military spouse when Justin was 3 years old. After the divorce, she chose to stay in Hopkinsville and raise her sons.
“Being raised by a single parent made things tough at times,” Justin recalled, “but my mom would do things and say things that would make me feel good about myself.”
Oxford said growing up with less helped him put life in perspective and made even a word of encouragement or a compliment important.
His philosophy is to not take anything for granted, because little things don’t come around very often. Thinking this way makes it easier to concentrate on the good things, he said.
That attitude helped the 26-year-old make a quick rise to store manager of the local NAPA dealership at Buy-Rite. Oxford laughed as he recalled when he started as a deliveryman in 2009, he couldn’t tell an oil filter from a spark plug. But the store management saw something “special” in him and helped him work his way up to become store manager at 23 years old.
His optimistic philosophy also made him the right person to keep the sign updated with sayings that would hopefully put a smile on someone’s face or give them something positive to think about.
“The way I was raised — it’s not about yourself, it’s about making others feel empowered and comfortable in their own skin,” Oxford said. “If a simple quote makes them feel better, I want to do that.”
When it comes to deciding on a saying to put on the sign, Oxford doesn’t have a stockpile. He looks for proverbs on TV, he might syphon off lists on the computer and sometimes he just “shoots from the hip,” depending on his mood.
Oxford also takes into consideration what’s going on in the community, because, he notes, “The community is the reason Buy-Rite has been in business for 40 years.”
He bounces ideas off Jeff Davis and other office staff to make sure he’s not too blunt before putting the sayings up on the marquee.
The number of comments he has received from customers has been gratifying, he said, but he doesn’t do it to build himself up.
If he can put up 10 words that make people feel better, that’s what he wants to do. He loves the thought that people have to look up to see the sayings.
“Looking up,” he smiled broadly, “is so much better than looking down.”
By Toni W. Riley