Larry Forest defines service with a smile

Those who have recently traveled through Hayneville and stopped at the QV convenience store for breakfast or lunch have probably met Larry Forest, a man who wears a visor and manages the kitchen. They may have even been asked to donate to the “Forest Fund” as he smiles and fixes their plates. 

Forest, also known affectionately as “Tadpole,” begins his day at the convenience store where he cooks, stocks the cooler, and makes sure all of the staff members are in place as each day begins on the busy corner of Hwy. 97 and W. Tuskeena Street. 

“I am a people person, and I love talking to everyone who comes into the store,” Forest said. “If they are happy when they come in they will want to come back.”

Forest began working with the QV convenience store nearly eight years ago after leaving a 25-year career in glasswork. 

The store’s owner, Sandy Harrell offered him the job, but he was reluctant since he didn’t know anything about running a store like QV. 

Harrell persisted. 

“I watch when you come in, you talk to the customers, the people like you,” Harrell said. “I don’t have the camaraderie you provide, and I want it.” 

Forest began working on the weekends to see if the job would be a good fit for him. After a month, he committed to the job full-time. 

“This job is the best thing that ever happened to me,” Forest said. “The owners are good people, and they are good to me. I get to see all my friends that I grew up with, and I enjoy the camaraderie that I experience between the customers and the employees, I really love that.” 

People have a short list of names they’d call in an emergency, and Forest is on many such lists.

“He has a very kind heart and will do anything for people,” QV owner Leanne Harrell said. “He always wants to help, and I believe if I needed anything, I could ask him and he would do it for me.” 

In addition to working at the gas station full time, Forest helps many in the area with small lawn care projects and is always willing to lend a helping hand. 

Forest grew up in West Montgomery and started school at Lowndes Academy in 1970 where he met his wife, Tiffany Forest. They began dating in high school, were married, and recently celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary. 

They have one daughter, Carolyn Jean Forest, who is a junior at Lowndes Academy. 

Forest and his family have chosen to make Lowndes County their home primarily because of the sense of community they feel each day. 

“My wife just had a kidney transplant in November, and the whole community supported and surrounded us with love and that really meant a lot,” Forest said.

Forest lost his father when he was 20 years old but was given a piece of advice from him before he passed that guides his life. 

“My father told me to work hard, take care of your business, but enjoy yourself and have fun, life is short,” Forest said. “That is what I live by.”