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<img src="http://www.tootntotum.com/images/old_store1.jpg" width="420"> The Toot’n Totum story began in 1950 when a young entrepreneurial couple, Eldon “Lefty” and Novie Mitchell established their first convenience store at 15th and Washington. Today, Novie’s son, Greg Mitchell serves as the chain’s owner and president. Back then, customers would literally drive up and toot their horns and the stores clerk would tote their orders out to them,” Greg said. “That was when we first committed ourselves to service and convenience to our customers. Even though we don’t run out to the customers’ cars any more, we still believe in the principles of service and convenience on which Toot’n Totum was built.” <img src="http://www.tootntotum.com/images/old_store2.jpg" width="420"> Upon Lefty Mitchell’s death in 1955, Novie was left with an incredibly difficult decision: what to do with the five Toot’n Totum stores, plus a small electrical company, all now in her control. She was a widow with two children and a little business experience. In an article written many years ago, Novie described the early years: “The hardest part was making decisions,” she said. “ I had the counsel, comfort, and backing of a swell corps of employees, and if I had not had that, then it’s possible I would have thrown in the towel after the first week.” But her never-say-die attitude wouldn’t have allowed that to happen. <img src="http://www.tootntotum.com/images/clyde_store3.jpg" width="420"> Through Novie’s hard work and seemingly 25-hour days, she built Toot’n Totum into a successful chain of 14 stores by 1963. She instilled in her children a strong set of values and an understanding of hard work. “We painted, hauled ice, stocked, you name it.” Greg said. “ Every job there was, we had to learn it. And I’m glad, because today I understand those jobs and what it takes to get them done.” The year 1963 was also the year Novie gained a new partner in business, and in life. Novie Mitchell married Harley Woods, a successful drug salesman, and formed a partnership that lasted almost three decades, ending with Harley’s death in 1991. <img src="http://www.tootntotum.com/images/78_store.jpg" width="420"> Over the years, there were many changes. Stores opened and closed as new and better locations became available. The electric company was sold and a meat market and grocery store that was operated by the family was sold. Toot’n Totum opened stores in Pampa, Borger, Canyon and Panhandle, but the family eventually decided it could sustain better customer service if they stayed within the city of Amarillo. Novie and Harley put so much time and effort into the business in order to withstand competition from the nation’s largest convenience stores, 7-Eleven. Local ownership, quick response to customers and prime locations gave Toot’n Totum an edge. Being a locally owned convenience store and hard work paid off in the end. Toot’n Totum acquired seven Anderson Dairy Stores in 1966, twelve Jiffy Food Stores in 1969, four Circle K’s in 1985, fifteen 7-Eleven’s in 1988, eleven Diamond Shamrocks in 1995 and most recently ten Phillips 66 stores in 2004. “It takes a commitment to the customer and the market and nobody is more committed to Amarillo and this area than we are.” <img src="http://www.tootntotum.com/images/support_tn.jpg" width="420"> Today Toot’n Totum has sixty-two convenience stores, six lube centers, and twelve car washes, ten Mr. Payroll stores and the Toot’n Totum enterprise also own the two Westgate Car Washes. Recently Toot’n Totum opened its first out-of-town store in decades. The new acquisition in Borger has been torn down and rebuilt in the new, expanded design. “We are in a continuous remodeling program of all the stores, as well as opening a few new stores. Our energies in the last ten years have been directed at remodeling stores to offer even better customer service,” Mitchell said. As the business has grown, so has the family involvement with the locally owned chain. Greg and Julie Mitchell’s children, Jeff, Lizzie, and Andrew have joined in the family to continue in the family tradition of serving Amarillo since 1950.

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About Toot'n Totum Food Stores

<img src="http://www.tootntotum.com/images/old_store1.jpg" width="420">

The Toot’n Totum story began in 1950 when a young entrepreneurial couple, Eldon “Lefty” and Novie Mitchell established their first convenience store at 15th and Washington. Today, Novie’s son, Greg Mitchell serves as the chain’s owner and president. Back then, customers would literally drive up and toot their horns and the stores clerk would tote their orders out to them,” Greg said. “That was when we first committed ourselves to service and convenience to our customers. Even though we don’t run out to the customers’ cars any more, we still believe in the principles of service and convenience on which Toot’n Totum was built.”

<img src="http://www.tootntotum.com/images/old_store2.jpg" width="420">

Upon Lefty Mitchell’s death in 1955, Novie was left with an incredibly difficult decision: what to do with the five Toot’n Totum stores, plus a small electrical company, all now in her control. She was a widow with two children and a little business experience. In an article written many years ago, Novie described the early years: “The hardest part was making decisions,” she said. “ I had the counsel, comfort, and backing of a swell corps of employees, and if I had not had that, then it’s possible I would have thrown in the towel after the first week.” But her never-say-die attitude wouldn’t have allowed that to happen.

<img src="http://www.tootntotum.com/images/clyde_store3.jpg" width="420">

Through Novie’s hard work and seemingly 25-hour days, she built Toot’n Totum into a successful chain of 14 stores by 1963. She instilled in her children a strong set of values and an understanding of hard work. “We painted, hauled ice, stocked, you name it.” Greg said. “ Every job there was, we had to learn it. And I’m glad, because today I understand those jobs and what it takes to get them done.” The year 1963 was also the year Novie gained a new partner in business, and in life. Novie Mitchell married Harley Woods, a successful drug salesman, and formed a partnership that lasted almost three decades, ending with Harley’s death in 1991.

<img src="http://www.tootntotum.com/images/78_store.jpg" width="420">

Over the years, there were many changes. Stores opened and closed as new and better locations became available. The electric company was sold and a meat market and grocery store that was operated by the family was sold. Toot’n Totum opened stores in Pampa, Borger, Canyon and Panhandle, but the family eventually decided it could sustain better customer service if they stayed within the city of Amarillo. Novie and Harley put so much time and effort into the business in order to withstand competition from the nation’s largest convenience stores, 7-Eleven. Local ownership, quick response to customers and prime locations gave Toot’n Totum an edge. Being a locally owned convenience store and hard work paid off in the end. Toot’n Totum acquired seven Anderson Dairy Stores in 1966, twelve Jiffy Food Stores in 1969, four Circle K’s in 1985, fifteen 7-Eleven’s in 1988, eleven Diamond Shamrocks in 1995 and most recently ten Phillips 66 stores in 2004. “It takes a commitment to the customer and the market and nobody is more committed to Amarillo and this area than we are.”

<img src="http://www.tootntotum.com/images/support_tn.jpg" width="420">

Today Toot’n Totum has sixty-two convenience stores, six lube centers, and twelve car washes, ten Mr. Payroll stores and the Toot’n Totum enterprise also own the two Westgate Car Washes. Recently Toot’n Totum opened its first out-of-town store in decades. The new acquisition in Borger has been torn down and rebuilt in the new, expanded design. “We are in a continuous remodeling program of all the stores, as well as opening a few new stores. Our energies in the last ten years have been directed at remodeling stores to offer even better customer service,” Mitchell said.

As the business has grown, so has the family involvement with the locally owned chain. Greg and Julie Mitchell’s children, Jeff, Lizzie, and Andrew have joined in the family to continue in the family tradition of serving Amarillo since 1950.