Reunion planned for former David’s and Rusty’s Outdoor Sports employees

WICHITA — Without the aid of an alumni association or anything else, some organizers are trying to find past employees of David’s department stores and Rusty’s Outdoor Sports stores for a reunion.

The two longtime Wichita companies – Rusty’s grew out of David’s – had hundreds of employees at multiple stores over many decades.

“It was like a big family,” says Greg Woodburn, who was a manager for both businesses. “It wasn’t like what retail is now – big conglomerates and box stores.”

He says David’s was sort of the Wal-Mart of its day, and though it was known for sporting goods, it sold a little bit of everything.

Woodburn says it was “kind of like a small company and a large company at the same time.”

“I haven’t worked for David’s for 35 years, and people still remember me from David’s and the Rusty’s stores,” he says. “That’s just where people shopped. That was the place to go.”

Woodburn says David’s “used to run crazy ads” for deeply discounted items.

“There’d be hundreds of people in the parking lot before we even opened.”

There’s a Facebook page to sign up for the reunion, which will be Nov. 2 at Abode Venue.

Woodburn says he’s already getting a great response and expects at least 150 to 200 people.

Though a lot of people who used to work for the stores are no longer around, Woodburn says there has always been a kinship among past employees.

“People kept in contact with each other for years.”