Manager juggles store, fatherhood

Jack Arkus, Staff Reporter

Christopher Davis is the man who unlocks the door every day at the local corner store on campus.

Davis has been the manager of Positively 4th Street for 10 years. Positively 4th Street is now four times bigger than it used to be when it opened in 1992.

Walking into the store, it is hard not to get hit by the pungent smell of incense sticks that linger throughout the establishment.

One wall is covered with t-shirts of various musicians. The wall next to the register is covered in bulletin boards laced with stickers in many colors and sizes. The space behind the glass counter bends into a narrow hallway that leads to the basement of the store. The dimly lit basement is submerged in store inventory such as Eastern apparel, various CDs, and life-size posters of pop icons. In the corner lies a desk and on this desk is a stack of papers.

This is the desk of the manager.

Davis is not only the manager of a store; he is also a single father and has been one for six years now.

Davis sits in a brown leather chair. Outlined behind him is a purple and white tie-dye quilt acting as a makeshift curtain that covers a crawl space.

Davis has life-long ties with the owner, Kirby Johnson, who started Positively 4th street in 1992. Johnson also runs other stores such as Gavina Graphics.

The connection between the two has allowed Davis to raise his ten-year-old son, Hayden.

Davis has no problem bringing Hayden into the store and showing his son where he makes his living.

“I’ve brought him in and shown him registers. I want him to get the structure,” Davis said as he stared at the red screensaver bouncing off his boxed computer screen.

Hayden comes into the store from time to time and pushes people out the way to get on a register because he wants to.

Davis is supportive of his adolescent son and has tried to protect him from anything that has stood in the way of him being successful, such as a divorce. Davis received a philosophy and an art degree from Eastern. His artistic ability was acquired from a young age, courtesy of his mother, who was an art teacher and gave him a love for art.  His dad gave him the ability to be a critical thinker because of his profession as a lawyer.

Davis said he views his position in life as lucky.

Tapping his left foot against the cold cement basement floor, Davis shared a tip on fatherhood.

“Don’t be too hard on yourself, man,” he said, chuckling. “It’s hard to watch (Hayden) grow up while I’m having these emotions I never knew I even had.”

Davis fought for his son because he knew they had the strongest of connections.

He said he truly felt that he has won in terms of his son living with him and he is winning a little more each and every day because of it.

There is only one picture hanging up on the wall next to his desk. That picture is of his son Hayden.

Jack Arkus can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]