Dozier, Alabama, population 500. It is also home to a unique store where the motto is: If we don't have it, you don't need it. It's owned by a man who is quite unique himself and Debbie Williams found him somewhere out along County Road 12.
If you look past the front-loader headed down Main Street Dozier, you'll see Henderson, Black and Merrill. A store as unique, as it's name is long. Inside 100 year old shelves hold anything you could possibly need or want. "This store is an old mercantile that survived the depression." The proprietor of such an establishment, Rodney Rawls Johnson. But you can call him Bud. "I don't want to say I was famous, but I've been here a long time and Iknow a lot of people." Over the years the store diversfied in order to change with the times but they always held on to what you might call, history. "We don't throw anything away." And they've kept a lot over the years. "The mule collars that you see hanging that's real oddity and a conversation piece. We have an old tobacco cutter. I have a cash register that was in the 30's." Even an old coffin is part of the decor. "Years ago even before I started working here, this company sold coffins to citizens of this area. We still have a room we still call it the coffin room that we use for storage now."
As interesting as all that stuff might be, the main attraction here just might be Bud himself. He is a town hero, almost. "In the late 60's, early 70's, our bank was robbed. And the Ag. teacher at the time hollered the banks just been robbed. My son had a '57 Cheverolet with a big old super engine in it and I said lets catch 'em. Now what we would do with 'em when we caught 'em I don't know. But he and I followed the bandits down the road and we were gaining on 'em but we run out a gas."
The old mercantile has been a mainstay in Dozier for a hundred years or more, keeping the town alive while the townspeople keep it alive. And Bud Johnson pays them back by making sure of one thing. "Some that Wal-mart doesn't have, I got it." In Dozier, Debbie Williams and photojournalist Darren Gilley, somewhere out along County Road 12.