Roy Drinkard is known throughout Cullman County for his business acumen and efforts to help build a strong economy and a great community.

The nearly 99-year-old founder of Drinkard Development is also recognized in many circles for his company's leadership nationally in the development of shopping centers. He’s been honored locally, across Alabama and nationally as an outstanding small business owner.

For his years of contributions to the community, Drinkard is The Cullman Times' 2019 Distinguished Citizen of the Century – it’s the first time in the annual Distinguished Citizen of the Year recognition the newspaper has changed the award from year to century.

From his service in the Marines during World War II to his leadership in Cullman as a member of the industrial recruiting team known as the Flying 50 to owning the former Drinkard Chevrolet dealership (now Mitch Smith Chevrolet) to the shopping centers that are a major part of the area’s retail growth, Drinkard has accumulated a lifetime of achievements. And, he proudly says he has no plans to slow down.

As a businessman, Drinkard has shown remarkable vision and an uncanny ability to drive success with the ventures in front of him.

He established Drinkard Development to further the start of Town Square Shopping Center in 1963 with a Big K and Winn Dixie grocery store. 

Later Drinkard Development expanded its interest beyond retail development and into owning and managing apartments. 

Fifty-plus years later, Drinkard Development remains a leading development company, owning and managing properties throughout the Southeast, including Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio. 

The business portfolio includes not only retail shopping centers, but has expanded into developing buildings for the General Services Administration, movie theatres, medical complexes, restaurants and a hospital. 

Drinkard also has a strong appreciation for teachers and their roles in modeling good citizens. Education, as he often notes, opens a lot of doors for success and happiness.

On a personal level, Drinkard fell in love with Cullman after moving here from Falkville. He speaks fondly of the kindness of people he meets daily.

Because of his strong feelings toward the community, he devoted much of his time assisting with industrial and small business development. Drinkard traveled on behalf of Cullman, along with other civic and community leaders like his friend Bert McGriff, to bring jobs and prosperity to his home.

As we pay tribute to the man who is known for his array of bow ties, we, along with all of Cullman County, say thank you Roy Drinkard – your endless contributions to the community you call home and the role you played as one of Cullman’s most influential ambassadors since the day you arrived will be felt for many, many years.

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