February 22, 1999
Francis and Delayne Cox are Duvall Chamber of Commerce Citizens of the Year.
Staff photo by Lisa Allen.
by Lisa Allen, Valley View editor
DUVALL--When Francis and Delayne Cox moved their Coast to Coast store from Redmond to Duvall in 1985, it didn't take long for them to discover the benefits of doing business in a small town.
"Within a week, we could see how much more personal it was," said Delayne. "There was more of an emotional attachment to people. It was very noticeable."
That attachment and the work the couple have put into the community over the years have not gone unnoticed. Next month, they will be honored as Citizens of the Year at a Chamber of Commerce banquet.
Francis and Delayne have been members of the Chamber as long as there has been a Chamber, donating lights over the years for the town's holiday decorations and helping out with other activities. They are among the founders of Valley Community Bank, of which Francis is currently Chairman of the Board, and also helped found Grace Episcopal Church.
One of their favorite causes is Tools for Tomorrow, a national program which picks a student a month from the local high school. Francis and Delayne give a $50 gift certificate to each Cedarcrest student given that honor. Those students are then eligible to go on to state and national competition, where there are opportunities for scholarships. The couple have also hired many high school students to work part-time at the store over the years.
The Main Street store was good to them and their employees, but space was limited and parking for customers became increasingly hard to find. Then a midwinter snowstorm a couple of years ago took care of that problem overnight. The store roof collapsed, drenching much of the stock and closing the business for months. But during that trying time, they had another opportunity to see smalltown residents in action.
"People stopped by and offered to come in and help," said Delayne. "We told them we would pay them and some have continued working here."
It took until May of 1997 to get set up in their new location across from the Family Grocer. The move gave them more room and generous parking and allowed the couple to branch out into the nursery business.
"The nursery has been fun from day one," said Francis. "It has made the business more fun."
The couple have seven children, most of whom live nearby. Their son-in-law, Matt Higgins, married to youngest daughter Sarah, is the store manager.
Longtime employee Cindy Morck said she was pleased her employers are Citizens of the Year, since they have contributed to many activities in town, "some that people don't even know about."
Employee Helen Petrick was one of those who volunteered to help after the roof collapse and continues to work at the store. "We are long-time friends as well," she says. "Francis and Delayne offer moral support to their employees and are supportive with the extended families of those who work here."
The Citizens of the Year banquet will be on Tuesday, March 16, 6:30 p.m in the Commons area of Cedarcrest High School. Dinner choices are prime rib or pasta primavera. The cost is $20 and reservations are required. Please call the Chamber Special Events Hotline at 788-8956 to make reservations. For information, call Margie Coy, Special Events Coordinator, at 788-3923.