To finance the new store the two entrepreneurs pooled their savings of $750 each and borrowed $25,000 from the Fourth National Bank and $2,500 from Mrs. Bailey W. Vinson, a customer.
The two young partners opened their store in what they believed to be a good location although two previous tenants had failed at the same address. The business was located on the northwest corner of E. 21st Street and S. Wheeling Ave. The food emporium became quickly known as the best purveyor of meats and groceries in the city.
During the forties and fifties Rowan & Petty established itself as a specialty food store offering charge accounts, delivery service, quality meats, and outstanding customer service. Petty’s Fine Foods currently operates at 1964 Utica Square, where it has been located since 1972.
L. G. Rowan
Mr. L.G. Rowan began his career in the grocery business at Fikes Food Store where he became the grocery manager. Known as a shrewd businessman, he convinced Mr. Petty, who was the meat manager at Fikes to go into partnership with him in a new company to be known as Rowan & Petty. The two men had a loyal following of customers and the store became an instant success. Mr. Rowan retired in 1969.
Robert D. Petty
Mr. Petty was known as Tulsa's leading meat manager and buyer. He learned his trade in the U.S. Navy during World War I aboard ship where he was a Storekeeper. Mr. Petty was very personable and had a large number of clients who only wanted him to select and trim their meats. He retired and sold his share of the business to his son, Robert J. Petty in the fall of 1957.
Robert J. Petty
Robert J. Petty was serving in the U.S. Air Force Strategic Air Command as a Bombardier-Navigator when he resigned the commission to return to Tulsa to enter the grocery business and became a partner with Mr. Rowan in 1957. He had a distinguished career in the industry and served as company President from 1969-1984 and retired from the business in 1985.