After 44 Years, Ken Davis Can Relax


It’s pretty hard to walk around downtown Manchester and not run into someone who knows Ken Davis. 

After all, for the last 16 years Ken has served as  vice president and the Manchester branch manager for the Cape Ann Savings Bank.  And next week, Ken Davis will retire after a remarkable 44-year run at the 135-year-old bank.  His last day is Wednesday, July 10, two days after his 66th birthday.  Stepping into his shoes will be Krystal Williams, Davis’ long-running, hand-picked colleague who is also a familiar face to locals.

“Ken will be a huge loss for the Cape Ann Savings Bank,” said David Slade, a longtime Board of Trustee member of the bank and an officer at several local community organizations such as the Manchester Club, the Manchester Elder Brethren, among many others.  “We wish him all the best in his retirement, and hope he continues to volunteer his time supporting our local organizations.”

His retirement will be a bittersweet moment marking a new chapter.  Ken Davis’ career in local banking really began as a teenager working summers as a cashier at the Annisquam Village Market.   He didn’t know it at the time, but that job set the tone, teaching him to understand money, understand people, and appreciate the tight personal ties that make up a community.

“Ken really brings the idea of ‘community’ to community banking,” said Manchester Select Board member Brian Sollosy, who has watched Ken, both as a member of the local business community and as a customer.   “People in a small town want a personal relationship.  Ken prides himself on knowing every single customer at his bank.  Big banks just don’t do that.  He epitomizes all that’s good about a small, community bank.”

And there are many, many in Manchester, Magnolia, Beverly Farms, and Essex who would echo Sollosy's sentiments.  People like Bruce Warren, who opened Laughing Gull a year before COVID with his wife Dede.  Last year, the couple together won the Greater Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce’s Manchester Small Businessperson of the Year.

“When we decided to pursue the idea of the Laughing Gull, then Essen, we turned to many resources.  Chiefly, Ken Davis and Cape Ann Savings were, and continue to be, one of our most strategic business partners,” said Warren.  “Ken was in our corner from the beginning, and Krystal was right there with him supporting us.”

And it’s true that Ken Davis treats banking as community service.  Allan Kirker, a stalwart officer with three critical local organizations, has worked with Kenny Davis for more than ten years on community events. 

Kirker is the commander of the Amaral-Bailey American Legion Post 113 and an e-board member of the 112-year-old Manchester Club and the Masonic Lodge.  He said after Ken Davis volunteered to cook a Portuguese Pot Roast dinner for one of the Manchester Club’s ten annual dinners, it quickly became one of the club’s biggest draws (second only to Todd Crane’s Mort Mayo fish dinner).

Now, these dinners come with big bragging rights for club members, and it’s no wonder that Kenny Davis’ pot roast (and the Portuguese sweet bread that goes with it) is so loved, since the recipe came from Kenny’s uncle, Father Eugene Alves, who served for decades as the priest at Gloucester’s Our Lady of Good Voyage Church.  It’s become so popular that Kenny’s kitchen team was asked to reprise the meal for one of the Legion’s monthly dinners as well. 

For his part, Kenny says he prefers the lower key roles, so these dinners are just his style.  And it’s something people report he does—volunteering for kitchen duty in charitable events—including helping with Rotary Club dinners and community service at the Open Door and Beverly Bootstraps.

“He just a good, good person really,” said Kirker.  “You can always count on him.”

Manchester Parks and Recreation Dept.’s Heather DePriest manages the popular summer “Music in the Park” series and agrees with the “you can always count on Ken” sentiment.  She says he’s the lead on the bank’s sponsorship of the public program, and he “always makes it an experience,” by bringing his entire branch team to serve popcorn snacks and food.  True to character, she laughs, Kenny’s place is at the grill, serving up the hot dogs for attendees.

“He’s been a supporter as long as I can remember,” said DePriest, who’s managed the music program for 17 years. 

Sixteen years ago, Ken Davis was tapped to take over the Manchester branch by Jerry Noonan, a longtime Manchester Town Assessor, former Manchester Postmaster, and then a Board of Trustees member at the Cape Ann Savings Bank.  Noonan thought Ken was the right guy to replace the beloved Manchester bank manager, Patricia “Pat” Ambrose, and those were big shoes to fill.

The first thing Ken did was redesign the bank’s interior layout.  Gone would be the open space that mixed teller windows with manager desks.  Ken wanted to create private office spaces to allow for discretion when customers want to talk money, which can be intimidating.  He also installed flower boxes outside to add a welcoming, homey touch.  And don’t get him started on winter holiday decorating!

“I’m not sure I’m up to managing the flower boxes,” laughs Krystal.  “I do not have a green thumb!”

Those personal touches added something that was uniquely “Ken” to the Manchester branch.  But for the personal touch in serving customers, Ken simply continued in the tradition of Pat Ambrose.  Today, he’s proud to say he knows nearly all customers personally.  Kenny can tell you what nursing home your mother might be in, because he’s been there in person to meet with your mother.  Or he may know where you live, because he’s made a financial “house call” to help your family navigate the messy aftermath of identity theft from fraudsters.

Like Ken, Krystal Williams started her career at Cape Ann Savings as a bank teller who then migrated to work in the bank’s mortgage lending business, among other departments.  During COVID, when safety protocols severely limited in person retail banking, Krystal became manager of the Rockport branch which, with its drive-through tellers, was among Cape Ann’s busiest retail banks.  She rose to the challenge.

“I’m really looking forward to my new role.  It’s exciting,” said Williams.  “But, of course, we’ll all miss Ken.”

So what’s Kenny’s plan for retirement?  Well, he’s still in Gloucester’s Riverdale neighborhood with Lisa, wife of 43 years who is also a Riverdaler and they plan to simply take time to enjoy domesitc life and their family.  On Wednesday, the bank will throw Kenny a well-deserved retirement party at—where else?—the American Legion Hall.  After that, it’s all cigars and running around the Annisquam in his 19-ft. center console Robalo.  If you don’t know what that is, look it up.