53rd Anniversary of Mosley Grocery – Oldest Black Owned Business in Indian River County
One can name the “Mom & Pop” black-owned and operated businesses of yester year on one hand.
Mosley Family Grocery is still standing as it celebrates 53 years of service to the Gifford Community. The Mosley’s were the 1st family in retail and the odds were insurmountably against them from the very beginning.
The founders were Mr. J.W. Mosley and Mrs. Willie Lee Mosley. Mr. J.W. Mosley was fondly known as “Sonny Boy” or “Mr. Mose” in the community.
The two founders had a 3rd grade education and a strong relationship with God.
It was Mr. Mosley’s faith and belief that God would free his family of their hard share cropping living. He tolled for many years, and when he was in his 50’s, he pressed God for a decision to free his family.
God said yes and the Mosley family migrated from Alabama to Florida. They settled in a mosquito and snake infested swamp land called Gifford, FL. This was the 1st listed municipality of Indian River County until 1926 when Vero Beach became incorporated.
Mr. Mosley understood that living was going to be just as hard in Florida however he would be free and his goal was be to build a better life for his family. He wanted to own his own land and prosper as the American dream would allow him to.
He was a fruit contractor and owner of a trucking company. He also worked many day-labored jobs to provide for his family. Mrs. Willie Lee Mosley cleaned white people’s houses earning only a few dollars a week. The work physically wore her out so in 1961, Mr. Mosley said, “I am going to build a grocery store so that my wife won’t have to work so hard”. In May of 1961, Mr. Mosley opened his family own business by faith.
The business was called Mosley Grocery and Filling Station. They were in the oil business for 30+ years. Their store had barrels of rice and beans. Children purchased penny candies and cookies, they also drunk Jungle Juice in the red and white carton. The children also liked Ike and Mike cookies.
Back then you could feed 50 children with a $1.50. Those were the “good ole days.” People made sandwiches out of light bread and a gallon of gas cost 48 cent a gallon.
There was less than 1% of homelessness. A man could provide for his family. People respected others people’s property. You could leave your doors unlocked even if you went on vacation.
Mosley Grocery has seen simpler times but now the store uses a computer and even has WiFi. The gas pumps and butcher shop are part of Mosley’s past. Now it caters more towards the convenience of the neighborhood.
Mr. & Mrs. Mosley had two sons and one daughter: Willie James Mosley, Robert Junior Mosley and Anna Pearl Mosley. They each have children who now extend out to 6th generation. Six generations came from one man and one woman who had a dream and did what if took to actualize that dream.
The family business is now owned & operated by Anna Pearl Mosley-Johnson and her children. Anna Pearl was a social worker for over 33 years. She retired from the Equal Opportunity Council of Indian River County. She also continues the same attitude as her parents: every customer who walks through the door is treated like family.
When you visit this store you leave with a cup of LOVE. This store is 53 years old and growing with six generations who are growing too.