BELGRADE LAKES — Lois Davis was almost as pink as her sweater with all the attention she was getting Friday morning, the day before she retires.

Davis, 66, has worked for 30 years at Day’s Store in Belgrade Lakes village, and the store owners set aside a few hours Friday so regular customers who long ago became her friends could wish Davis well. There was a “family dinner” Thursday night as well.

Frank Rizzo of Rome, a friend and neighbor, gave Davis a big hug Friday morning and asked, “Who’s going to harass me when she retires?”

Rizzo said he will miss seeing Davis in the store.

“She’s always got a smile,” he said. “I think she brings the best out in you.”

Davis stood in front of a table laden with sandwiches, flowers and cards full of retirement wishes. At another table with fruit punch and desserts, Fred and Sandy Gagnon, also of Rome, talked with Davis’s husband Roger.

“This is where we all show up for coffee,” said Sandy Gagnon, as she held a cup in her hand.

The Gagnons said other neighbors who summer in Rome and winter in their Alabama home, Stu and Maggie Gerald, also sent regards to Davis since they’ve yet to make the journey north.

Fred Gagnon called Davis “a fixture” in the wooden-floored store that sells gas, groceries, gifts, and produce and has a wharf out back so watercraft can be tied up briefly while the boaters go shopping. The store itself is also a fixture, serving locals, summer visitors and those traveling north on Route 27 to the mountains.

“Every time you come in you expect to see Lois,” Sandy Gagnon said.

Davis was first hired by Gary and Joyce Day, parents of Diane Oliver, who today owns and operates the store with her husband, Kerry Oliver.

“When we took over, she was part of the business,” said Diane Oliver.

Oliver said Davis went well beyond the call for an employee, baby-sitting her children, helping younger employees and anything else that needed to be done.

“She does it all,” Oliver said.

Finding someone to fill her shoes won’t be easy, she said. “You can’t replace Lois. You struggle along and hope you find someone to fill some of the hours.”

Oliver said Davis took a lot of pictures of parties for the store and arranged them in scrapbooks because one of her hobbies is scrapbooking.

Oliver said Davis was reluctant about the store having a big celebration for her retirement, but a sign outside the store and a notice on the store’s Facebook page encouraged the regulars to stop in and say good-bye.

“We wish her the best and hope she enjoys herself and her time with Roger (her husband),” Oliver said.

“I worked in the gift shop,” said Davis, about her earliest years at the store. She’s been a cashier for a long time, but the standing has gotten to her legs, so she’s bowing out.

Davis said she’ll miss seeing and talking with the people.

“There’s a lot of older customers I’ve become close to,” she said.

Her husband, Roger, who retired after 19 years in two saw mills and 33 years in the woods, told the friends he’s got the future planned.

“I’ll keep her in the house while I stay outside,” he said to gales of laughter. “When she comes out, I’ll go in and get a snack.”

The Davises, who live in Rome, have two children and three grandchildren.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


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