Hutchinson Community College campus photo


Ray & Stella Dillon

Sepia portait of Ray and Stella Dillon

At the beginning of the century, J.S. Dillon, opened a general store in Sterling and in 1913 started a "cash and carry" grocery operation at 813 Main in Hutchinson. Although Dillons has become one of the giant corporations of the retailing industry, success did not happen overnight. There was no magic involved in the organization's growth.

"It was a slow, steady pull," J.S. Dillon's son, Ray, recalled of the early years. "We just kept grinding away."

Ray's philosophy was simple: "First, you must like people and working with people. The second key is to pick the manpower to work with you. What do I look for? The same thing I wanted in myself, the love of merchandising and the ability to work with people."

Ray and Stella Dillon, the namesakes of the series, were born and reared in the agricultural region of the Arkansas River Valley - she in Pretty Prairie, he in Sterling.

Ray and Stella met and married in Hutchinson in 1923. Their family consisting of two sons, Ray E. Dillon, Jr. and Richard W. Dillon, and six grandchildren, continues to live in the Hutchinson area.