“A house is made of sticks and stone, but a home is made of love alone,” said Frank Oliver, owner of Hardesty Grocery, as he looked around at his grandchildren who gathered in his store.
Charli Hull, Frank’s youngest daughter, said they grew up in a loving home. She said her dad is the most giving, generous and encouraging man she’s ever met.
“It is a privilege to have my dad as my dad,” she said.
The walls of Hardesty Grocery are filled with pictures taken throughout time of the Oliver family and friends. The tally for Frank’s grandchildren stands at 21 and he said with a smile, “some great-grandchildren in the works.”
Not only did Frank and his wife, who have been married for 52 years, have four biological children but they also had three foster children that Charli said they treated as their own. She said he was a dad to a lot of kids that didn’t have dads in their lives. He would drive as many kids home as he could after skating and ice cream, she said. Frank has always loved hockey and ice-skating, she said.
Franki Hull, 14, was named after her grandfather. She said he greets everyone with a smile and remembers everyone he meets.
“He calls people by name,” she said.
Charli said her family grew up learning customer service and respect from her father. She said all the kids and grandkids grew up working in the store and through that learned to count change and grew personal relationship skills.
They all agree that Frank stands by one of his favorite sayings which is, “A good businessman always has a pen and a smile.”
Murphi Sparkman, 21, is also one of Frank’s grandchildren. She said she would have to agree with Charli on the fact that her grandfather is a great role model because of his people skills and sense of humor.
“He’s so funny…his stories are the best…he’s got lots of jokes,” she said.
Mayci Sparkman, 19, another of Frank’s grandchildren, said he jokes with customers sometimes like referring to ice as ‘frozen water’ and asking them if they still want some since it’s frozen.
The family members all agree that Frank is a modest, humble man who doesn’t like to brag.
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“He is the sweetest man ever,” said Murphi. “I’ve only seen him mad maybe two times....he’s very positive.”
Frank’s granddaughters agree that they all got their good hair and athleticism from him but most importantly a good work ethic.
“If you wanted to see dad, this [the store] is where you came,” Charli said.
Murphi responded with, “Unless it’s Sunday, then he’s in his chair.”
Charli said they grew up going to church every Sunday and then her dad would sit in his chair in the afternoon.
Dane Oliver, 10, one of Frank’s grandsons, agrees that Frank works all the time and loves his store.
“He’s crazy…he works 24/7,” he said.
Along with working at the store, Charli said her dad has a breakfast club that meets and eats in the store with him and Frank even came to the store to take shelter from the recent tornadoes because he said the office was safer than his home.
Frank said he loves to read the newspaper and keep up with what all is happening.
“He knows so much about everything,” Mayci said.
She said her grandfather reads every paper and remembers everything he reads.
“He reads every word of every paper he gets and keeps all the articles,” Charli said.
Above all else, Charli said her dad loves his family and especially his grandchildren.
“He is definitely proud of his grandkids,” she said.
Frank said out of all the furniture in his home, he would have to say his favorite is the kitchen table. He said the table is where your kids do their homework, the family eats together and prays together, and most importantly, talks to each other.