In 1949, DeNean acquired the Lincoln-Mercury dealership. Then, in 1951, he purchased the John Deere dealership. In 1956, he and other friends purchased the old Cohen Department Store on Main Street. The Oldsmobile dealership was acquired in 1958.
In the 1950’s, DeNean served as president of the Tift County Chamber of Commerce, and is credited with giving it a tremendous boost with his fundraising efforts. He created the now-coveted annual “Stafford” award, honoring a member of the chamber who has contributed to the community in a significant way.
After assisting in friends’ election campaigns, Stafford decided to jump into politics himself, and, in 1958, was elected State Senator representing the 49th District of Georgia.
The next major change in DeNean Stafford, Jr.’s business affairs occurred when Interstate 75 came through Tifton in the 1950’s as “the first four miles built anywhere in the United States.” He was instrumental in helping Tifton acquire six exits along the interstate, now developed with motels, restaurants, service stations and many other businesses that boost the area’s economy.