Davis, 78, said he’s worn a suit every day for more than 30 years.
“Now I can put on my jeans and a hat and walk around town without anyone knowing who I am. They just don’t pay attention to me,” Davis said.
Almost 31 years ago, Davis became the fourth Edward Jones location in the state of Arkansas. Today there are about 180 offices in the state.
He purchased the building at Toad Suck Square in 1986. Davis said the toad was already painted on the street outside his window and named the building after it.
“Overnight the place became a landmark, which came as a surprise to me,” Davis said.
Of his experience in Conway, Davis said he is taking away a lot of friends.
“There were 17,000 people in town then. Now there are over 60,000. My wife and I have made many, many friends over the years.”
Milton Davis’ son, Granger Davis, has been running the office since his father’s heart operation six years ago.
“It’s business as usual. Nothing’s changed,” Granger Davis said. According to Granger Davis, his father is still going to be a presence at the firm. Though he will not be making investment choices for clients, he will serve as a consultant.
“We think a lot alike as far as how to take care of clients and investment choices. The only difference is that I’m a little more conservative than he is,” Granger Davis said, “Not all sons and fathers can work together, but we’ve been very fortunate to have the same demeanor. It has been a good transition. A piece of cake. I’ve been fortunate to work side by side with him for the last 10 years, and I don’t look for that to change much.”
Milton Davis said he knew three years ago that this plan would take place and secured for himself an office upstairs at the Toad Suck building.
“I did it so when this day came I’d still have an office to go to. I will still come to my office every day and take care of my own business. My wife is pleased that I have an office to go to,” Davis said jokingly, “I’m not one to sit around and watch soap operas. I’ve got a lot to do. I’ve been unemployed or retired ... for a week and haven’t caught up yet.”
Free-time allowing, Davis plans to work in his shop on toys for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He uses an electric saw to make trucks and cars for his grandsons.
“I’ve butchered a few 2-by-4s, broken some blades. I figure each one of those things has cost me at least 10 dollars,” Davis said. He plans to begin construction on a doll house with a bookshelf and has been researching ways to do that. Milton Davis’ wife, Claudia, is encouraging him to undertake the project for his granddaughter.
Milton Davis had good things to say of Edward Jones. He said the company is unique in that they are the only existing brokerage firm that is also a partnership. He has a limited partnership in the company, and said he has loved being his own boss.
“I’ve worked for big corporations and for a board of directors. I don’t like bosses and never have. When I left a corporation, I went to work for a board of directors. That was like jumping out of the pan and into the fire. Jones has the best of both worlds. They set me up in business, but it was up to me to make the business work,” he said.
Ted Jones of Edward Jones told Davis an analogy years ago that involved chickens.
“There are two ways to be successful in the chicken business. You can have a big brooder house or have your chickens in the yard, and they can scratch for themselves. The brooder house is a big firm, and we’re the chickens in the yard scratching,” he said, “That was when I first came to the firm, and now we have more offices than anyone.”
Milton Davis is going to be working with his graddaughter, Amanda Mulhearn, on getting his Toad Suck Tidbits cartoon syndicated.
“It’s a long shot, but we’re going to try it. If it doesn’t work, why, at least we’ve tried,” he said. Milton Davis said he has been pleasantly surprised by the comments he and his wife have gotten about Toad Suck Tidbits, which is published daily in the Log Cabin Democrat.
Davis said Conway has been a good place to do business and live.
“Conway’s been good to us, and we’ve tried to give back to the community in civic work, and we think Conway has a great quality of life. It has been a great place to live,” he said.
Granger Davis joked about his father’s alleged retirement.
“What retirement? We call him our super. I like to kid him. I hope to keep him around as long as he can — to replace light bulbs. I’ve been trying to get him to sweep, but he won’t go for it.”
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)