Valdosta Daily Times

Business

August 4, 2013

Rays Millpond: Celebrating 50 years

RAY CITY — Since 1963, Ray's Millpond has been a staple to many residents. Serving up some of the best seafood in the area with some of the friendliest servers around, Ray's has been a tradition for many families since the beginning.

Originally started by Ann Campbell and Lamar Booth, Ray's has seen several changes over the years. In the beginning there was no air conditioning, only open windows and screen doors to let the summer breeze in, the bathrooms were outside and the restaurant and menu were both much smaller.

However, there are many things that have stayed the same since then. Dan Booth, grandson of Ann and son of Lamar, along with his brother Larry, took over the restaurant with their wives, Doris and Joyce, in 1979. Booth said of the restaurant, "We are still basically doing things the way we did back in 1963. We still focus on cooking fish with catfish being our largest seller. We still grind our corn meal just like when my grandmother started."

He also added, "It's always been a casual, family atmosphere. We have never allowed drinking. We don't serve alcohol and we don't allow alcohol to be brought in. We try to keep it family friendly."

Since 1979, Booth has learned a lot. He explained, "One of the main things I have learned is if you have your own business like this you have to be a people person. You have to interact with the customers. If you're not a people person you don't need to be in the restaurant business."

While Ray's Millpond is known throughout our region, their reputation extends far beyond that. "With Moody Air Force being close by, our name has been passed around all over the world. We have military guys come eat here and then they get stationed elsewhere and tell others about us. It's amazing to me. Everyone says it's a small world, but until something like that happens, you don't realize just how small."

Booth would like to extend his deepest thanks to the community, "We appreciate the loyal customers we have gained over the years. We have folks coming in now who came when they were kids with their parents and grandparents. Now they are grown and bringing their kids here. The pass it on to their family members, like the restaurant is being passed down through our family. I have a couple of grandchildren working here, my children work here, my wife works here. We have really been blessed."

He also praised his employees, "This wouldn't be possible without the great employees I've had over the years. Folks have been loyal to me. We have been good to each other, they have helped grow our business. I can interact with every customer. They are the restaurant and they are part of the reason for our success. We have good suppliers, good cooks and good servers and that is what keeps folks coming back."

Rays Mill Pond is located at 875 Ray's Millpond Road in Ray City. They are open Wednesday-Saturday from 5-10 p.m.

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