ALVA, Okla. (KFOR) — People who walk into Whittet’s Country Store often don’t realize exactly what kind of history they’re looking at.
Maybe they’re too engrossed in the aged beef as opposed to the ages these Whittet’s have been around cutting it.
“It’s actually my great-uncle who started it,” says owner Doug Whittet.
Doug is father to Danny who, on this morning, has his son working to make hamburger patties.
“I got to work with my dad and grand dad,” he marvels. “Now I’m grand dad working with my son and grandson.”
Our own history with the Whittets stretches back more than 20 years to Doug’s dad, Billy Whittet, who had his own store and lunch counter in nearby Dacoma, Oklahoma.
“Everything in here is antique, Galen,” said Billy in 2000.
Billy learned to cut meat from his dad and uncle, who learned to cut meat from their dad.
The Whittets used to process their meat right from the herd out back.
Standing over an ancient cash register, Doug demonstrates, “I can still see them pushing numbers. Then he’d take that crank and turn it, and that would kick the door open.”
Somehow, the Whittet name survived, though now the challenges are greater than ever.
“Right now,” says Doug, “That coronavirus is causing a lot of shortages so you really don’t know what you’re going to get each week.”
Billy used to write important bits of history on the white walls outside his meat locker.
The tradition continues in Alva where family lore is written in pictures and etched in the hard wood of long used butcher blocks.
“Most people that walk through that front door you know. You might not always remember their name but you always remember their face.”
The Whittets are still supplying protein to a hungry community.
They have to work harder than ever to make sure they aren’t squeezed out of business but there is a long family line that has already weathered changing times.
The old Dacoma store is closed now, but a Whittet still posts watch.
“My dad would be mighty proud,” says Doug.
Hunger and history exert a mighty pull.
The Whittet meat market is open daily on Oklahoma Street in Alva.
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