By Joey McWilliams
DURANT – An annual tradition was renewed this week at Indian Nation Wholesale as the staff gathered over the course of the day on Tuesday for a meal.
With a staff that averages around 260 employees over the course of a year, INW makes the time to honor and bless those who are a part of what has become family.
Corey Cooper, president of Indian Nation Wholesale, said the company does gatherings like this at least twice each year and sometimes more.
“It’s a potluck-type dinner that we do and we try to incorporate all shifts and all employees are invited,” Cooper said. “We will do this just before Thanksgiving every year and just before Christmas. The company will provide the protein or the ham.
“We fried turkeys this year, Steven (Potts) smoked a turkey this year. All the employees brought salads and desserts and fruits and vegetables so we can all share.”
Cooper said all shifts are invited, but obviously some employees are out of the building during the meals, like our drivers and our sales folks, so they try to do some different events for them from time to time.
“We try to incorporate everybody in the company, so everybody feels comfortable and wants to work at a place like Indian Nation,” Cooper said.
Steven Potts, who oversees billing and customer service, said the mealtimes are meant to just be a part of what they do every day.
“We wanted to bring Thanksgiving Day back to the people here,” Potts said. “And to bring them together as a family, that’s what we do. To be a family means everything, actually. To me, that’s who we are, and family is everything we have in life.
“I appreciate it with everything I’ve got. We love this place. We love coming to work here and that’s why we want to incorporate family with everybody.”
Cooper said it is not just about the meal and that the people who work at INW are truly family.
“We obviously have some short-term employees who may not yet feel that way,” Cooper said. “But we have a lot of 10- and 20- and 30-year employees who work here and they truly are more than employees.
“They’ve been through hardships in their lives, and we’ve help them financially or emotionally. And vice-versa, when someone in the company or the family has an issue, the rest of the family comes to their aid. I can’t count how many times that’s happened in my 20 years here.”
As Thanksgiving Day approaches, Cooper said there is much for which to be thankful.
“We feel very fortunate that we have the ability to do this, for our armed forces and for the country that we live in that we are free and feel very blessed that we are able to do this.”