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Author Topic: Country/Community Stores  (Read 2876 times)

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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Country/Community Stores
« on: January 31, 2016, 01:45:59 PM »
   How many of you remember the little country or community stores (I assume city folks had something similar)?

   Where I grew up before we had "Convenience stores" and Wal-Mart and such every 5-10 miles at every little crossroads community there would be some kind of little country store. You could buy 1-2 shotgun shells or .22 cartridges if that was all you could afford or needed. They had a big hoop of sharp cheddar cheese on the counter that came in round wooden boxes. They had a cooler with 2-3 kinds of lunch meat (usually including souse/hoghead cheese)and a slab of bacon they'd slice for you on demand and wrapped it in white or brown butcher paper.

    They had animal feed in the back and sometimes a box full of live crickets that the health inspector could never hear when he came to inspect the place because you couldn't have them around food. (I remember one time Miz Elsie selling a dimes worth crickets to a bunch of kids in the neighborhood who only had a dime but no cricket cage/box so she put them in a small paper bag like we got loose candy in. One cricket got out and down her dress and we found she had moves that would win her DWTS if they'd had it back then.) There was a small selection of fishing tackle - nothing fancy but you could buy a bobber, bream hook, split shot and a roll of monofilament line. Out front would be a square blue kerosene tank with a hand crank and 10-12 cane fishing poles.

   Some had an ice cooler that sold blocks of ice and they had a machine that would grind up a 10-25 lb block of ice for you before the machines came along that made small cubes or the current pre-bagged packages. They had fresh eggs and a few seasonal vegetables, usually bought locally and they'd keep a few watermelons on ice for you to buy.

    Miz Elsie was way ahead of her time and never marked her canned goods although all the others I remember did. You generally did a mood check and just bought a couple of items before buying too much. If she was in a good mood and prices were low you suddenly "remembered" you needed some other items.

   They had a little hardware, a drink box full of sodas (All were "Cokes" to us), an ice cream cooler with ice cream sandwiches and popsickles (SP?), a glassed in counter with cigars, and a candy counter with candy and chips. Some had a gas pump, some did not.

   Most of them ran a tab for some of the people in the community and often supported many of the poorer folks in the community when they had hard times. They'd buy your returnable pop bottles providing local kids a way to make money to buy a bike or other special item. Everybody knew them and they knew everyone and everything that went on in the community. Sometimes they even had the local post office built on or into their operation. They were the community polling places during elections.

   Instead of asking paper or plastic your order was packed in cardboard boxes the bulk groceries had come in (I still miss that).

   Most have been put out of business as the owners got old and no younger folks came along to replace them and bigger chain stores came along but these just don't have the same personal touch.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline sandsawmill14

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Re: Country/Community Stores
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2016, 01:59:01 PM »
i remember 5 such stores when i was a kid within about a 10 mile radius of us the closest 1 was about 1 1/2 from us and the last one to close in the early 90s . i dont like the big stores you never get to know anyone they just want you to give them the money and get gone >:(
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Offline Ozarker

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Re: Country/Community Stores
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2016, 02:16:50 PM »
Yep, I remember such stores well, and I miss them. They each had their own character, unlike the sterile, cookie-cutter approach, metal-building, mundane stores of today.

Offline sandsawmill14

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Re: Country/Community Stores
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2016, 03:48:50 PM »
it was just different to go to the store when it was rainy or to cold to do much and sit around on the "loafers bench" and talk to the old timers for 30 min or more. now there is nowhere to do that anymore
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Offline SLawyer Dave

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Re: Country/Community Stores
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2016, 03:53:31 PM »
We still have a very few of those in some outlying communities here in Northern California.  I try to always make a point of going into such stores and buying a few things.  It's not only money well spent, but its amazing the information and history you can learn. 

Here's a true story about "small country stores".  Some 20+ years ago when I was in college, my upstairs neighbor and I became friends.  He was raised on a farm, and his family had a good business of growing, bailing and selling hay.  He was doing a combined farming and business degree as he wanted to take over the family business.  I knew the area he was from, but had never been to the small town where he was raised.  Years later, I happened to be in that town for a school board meeting, (as a lawyer), and saw him in his "class photo" in the small school, (when you have a graduating class of 12, its not hard to spot the individuals).   ;D

Not having spoken to him in years, but not wanting to pass up the chance to reconnect, I went to the little country store that pretty much was the center of town.  I went up to the cash register and told the older woman who was working my story, and who I wanted to find.  She said, "Oh, I've known "Gregg" and his family for years.  Then she kind of looked askance at me, (being in a suit and tie in a small rural town tends to stand out), and wanted to make sure I wasn't a bill collector or something.  I assured her I was not, and she said to wait for a minute.  Then she  called their house, (apparently she knew the number by heart), and they told her he was working out in the fields bailing hay.  So she handed the phone to me, and I was able to give my information to his sister.  Within just a few minutes, Gregg called me back on my cell phone. 

No need for Facebook and Google in towns like that. 

Offline muggs

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Re: Country/Community Stores
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2016, 04:53:41 PM »
My grandpa had a store like that in OK.  Two gas pumps in the front. Wore a uniform. Had a ceiling fan. A pop cooler filled with ice water. If you bought a pop, he would ask [ for here or to go]. So he would know whether to charge the deposit. Place always smelled like candy from the large glass candy counter. Good memories.      Muggs


Offline customsawyer

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Re: Country/Community Stores
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2016, 05:25:48 PM »
Our local store here is a hardware/ auto parts store. They still sell full service gas and do a little mechanic work in the back. The gentleman that runs it is getting up in age and starting to have some health problems. I am extremely worried what is going to happen to the store when he passes. 
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Offline 21incher

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Re: Country/Community Stores
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2016, 07:09:25 PM »
We had one where I grew up. It was like a mini Walmart. If you couldn't find what you wanted in there up the road a little bit was a Agway store. I remember searching the roadsides for Coke bottles that I could return for a deposit to buy candy bars and matchbox cars. :)
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Offline Sixacresand

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Re: Country/Community Stores
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2016, 09:20:21 PM »
We like our local store.  We can get a tank of gas, fish bait and sit around talking while waiting on a Grilled chicken salad and burger. 
"Sometimes you can make more hay with less equipment if you just use your head."  Tom, Forestry Forum

Offline gfadvm

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Re: Country/Community Stores
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2016, 09:47:42 PM »
We had a tiny little store a mile down the road from the ranch where I grew up. It was run by an OLD lady who dipped snuff and had a big old cat that always laid on the (unwrapped) jawbreakers under the counter. We would ride our bikes there until my mom went in one day and "ruled us off". A little cat hair never hurt anybody!

Offline Don_Papenburg

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Re: Country/Community Stores
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2016, 09:57:09 PM »
Out in the country we had the local elevator  , in the scale house  was a glass case  on one wall  it had cigars,candy, gloves , belt dressing , liquid wrench, goggles and other things that I can't remember .
there was a
coke machine in the one corner  and tables and chairs  . the other corner had the heating stove . 
 Behind the glass case wall was the elevator managers office and the scale.   The farmers would play cards and BS on rainy days .  It was seldom that I had a dime that I could spend on a Coke .  It was a special thing to be able to get a coke with out begging dad.

 In town there were several grocery stores that had other supplies .
But in Streator we had Williams hardware ,They had everything you could need and then some .  People would come there from Chicago to get things .  In the flooding of '58 the sewergas backing up in the basement and some one wanting to shake paint did not mix .  one flip of a switch and the place blew up flipping cars over outside .  It has not been the same since , now we have to go to other towns to get  a lot of things. 
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Offline r.man

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Re: Country/Community Stores
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2016, 11:43:48 PM »
We still have our local general store but after three generations the family is trying to sell. Since it doesn't bring in what it used to they have discouraged any younger members from taking over. Times change.
Life is too short or my list is too long, not sure which. Dec 2014

Offline blackfoot griz

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Re: Country/Community Stores
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2016, 12:22:38 AM »
We have a place here named   "Culley's". It's a bar, cafe, gas station and convenience store all in one. The next closest place is 16 miles away so, for us locals, Culley's is very convenient!

Offline sandhills

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Re: Country/Community Stores
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2016, 12:43:27 AM »
My daughter works at one of the two grocery stores in town, both still carry groceries to your car for you while your paying but the one she works at also serves simple hot dinner meals daily ($3.50 I think).  We also still have a full service gas station which also doubles as the local gossip shop for coffee drinkers, or you can go to the coop, John Deere, Case IH......... :D

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Country/Community Stores
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2016, 06:10:07 AM »
Still carry groceries out to your car??  :o
The one I remember we could get molasses,just bring your own jug. There was round cheese on the counter,under a heavy glass dome. We had to go up 4-6 steps to get into the store too.
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Offline jwilly3879

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Re: Country/Community Stores
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2016, 06:40:30 AM »
My wife has run a small store in the Adirondacks since 1989. You can get your milk, eggs and some groceries in addition to chainsaw stuff, gas, diesel and many other items.

Coffee in the morning with a table for the regulars to discuss (argue) the current events of the day.

 

 

Just made a big investment in an upgrade to the pumps and tanks.

The thing that people don't realize is that without the support of the locals these stores will become extinct.

Offline Woodhauler

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Re: Country/Community Stores
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2016, 07:30:16 AM »
My wife and her mother owned the local store for 10 years or so. Had the table to set and chat , some hardware, meat , hot and cold food. Table came out after a couple years because of the local bums that livrd off the state would hang out there half the day!  Still had bench out front. She found that those people hanging around drove people off. They still came and got the coffee in the morning but didn't hang around whining about the system! Store burned down a few years after she sold it.
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Country/Community Stores
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2016, 09:02:46 AM »
My wife has run a small store in the Adirondacks since 1989. You can get your milk, eggs and some groceries in addition to chainsaw stuff, gas, diesel and many other items.

Coffee in the morning with a table for the regulars to discuss (argue) the current events of the day.

 

 (Image hidden from quote, click to view.)

Just made a big investment in an upgrade to the pumps and tanks.

The thing that people don't realize is that without the support of the locals these stores will become extinct.

   I recently saw an article or two where Wal Mart had gone into several communities and built their new smaller stores closing down local grocery/community stores now a few years later they are shutting down several hundred of them and the communities have nothing left to fall back on. These stores cost a little more to run and the prices and selection are more and more limited than the chain stores but once gone will likely never re-open. And many are run by older folks. We just had one close here in WV. Old lady who ran it turned it over to his son who ran it 3-4 more years  and he got tired and shut it down last month. Sold lots of fish bait, souvenirs, snacks, propane, etc.

   I worked a couple of tours in west Africa and they had little stores or kiosks often built of an old 20' shipping container or rough lumber with a corrugated metal roof (some still had palm frond roofs). They had everything the community commonly needed. On my off day I would visit the remote communities I found on my map. We'd stop at these stores, I'd buy my driver and myself a coke and a beer (cheaper then soft drinks there) or whatever the locals there wanted to drink and a "bon-bon (candy) from a gallon glass jar for all the kids around we'd talk a while. Often I'd get a group picture with the store owner who was happy to meet a white person (and for a paying customer) or "Forte" as they called me in Guinea. I'd ask about what was in the area then, in Cameroon, I'd often hire a local guy as a guide to take me to see the local points of interest. They would be amazed I'd want to stop and see someone making palm frond panels, weaving baskets, plowing with a donkey or ox, etc. I'd pay them $5-$6 when we were done which was typically a weeks wages for them. Most would have been happy to get to ride in a "Moto" or automobile. (I found 8 pygmies with their hunting nets and spears and such can ride happily in the back/cargo area of a Toyota land cruiser). In a future thread I'll talk about souvenirs. Anyway, these little stores reminded me of the ones I grew up with. They are the life blood of the communities like ours were where we live or grew up.

   Excellent comment on the fact these places fail without our support and once gone are gone forever, at least they are in rural America.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"

Offline beenthere

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Re: Country/Community Stores
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2016, 10:43:54 AM »
Quote
My wife has run a small store in the Adirondacks since 1989. You can get your milk, eggs and some groceries in addition to chainsaw stuff, gas, diesel and many other items.

jwilly
On the corner of Hwy 29 and 30 ?

Neat store, and wonder what the red tanks are for.. ??
south central Wisconsin
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Country/Community Stores
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2016, 11:20:12 AM »
Quote
My wife has run a small store in the Adirondacks since 1989. You can get your milk, eggs and some groceries in addition to chainsaw stuff, gas, diesel and many other items.

jwilly
On the corner of Hwy 29 and 30 ?

Neat store, and wonder what the red tanks are for.. ??

   Good question. I'm interested in what the answer will be. I'm betting, since they are bright red, they are some sort of fire suppression system.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"


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