Losing A Local Tradition

The Kroger store in a neighboring town is closing after 52 years in business. While it’s not the nicest store you’ll ever see, many of us have been going there for as long as we can remember.

When I was small, my mother would put me in her shopping cart and go straight to the Little Golden Book display. I would choose a book to look at while she shopped, never fussing or demanding things – just happily “reading” my book while waiting to go home and read it together.

I had quite the collection of these classic storybooks, thanks to this routine, and quickly developed a love for reading and collecting!

This store is important to Wellston and I imagine that a lot of folks will find life more difficult when it’s gone. If you’re older or have mobility issues, navigating superstores like Walmart or even the larger grocery stores is exhausting.

The footprint of this store is quite small and just the right size for those who struggle in the big ones.

It hasn’t been remodeled in years and little has changed here. The Little Golden Book display is gone and so is the bottle return (bonus points if you remember returning your glass bottles to the store!) but it’s otherwise very similar to the store of my childhood.

There’s also no self checkout to take the place of the friendly cashiers and baggers. That may be the part I will miss the most – the people and the unwavering personal service they provide.

I’m sure the Kroger Company considered this location a nuisance because they really couldn’t adapt this location to their clicklist/self checkout model of discouraging customers to come in and shop.

Just the same, I’m sad to see it go.

What stores do you miss from your childhood?

10 thoughts on “Losing A Local Tradition

  1. Ohmygosh!!!! I wonder if that’s how I got all my Little Golden Books! Did my Mom go to a grocery that had a stand of them??? My favorites were the Pokey Little Puppy and the one with a white kitten that gets into something in the laundryroom and ends up a beautiful shade of blue. You have no idea how badly I wanted a blue kitten after that.

    We had Kroger in Indiana but we moved to California when I was 5 so I only went to Kroger when we visited the relatives for holidays / summer vacation. I remember buying Fruit Stripe Gum with the rainbow zebra on the package.

    From my weekly grocery life at home, I loved going to Alpha Beta where they had a cart that had a place where I could sit UNDERNEATH the basket!!! I don’t think it was meant for that, but that’s where I liked to ride.

    When we moved to Arizona the best store was Smittys. It was huge and had housewares and stuff like a modern day Target or Walmart. They displayed the fruits & veggies in some kind of crushed ice that I would walk around picking off and eating. The ice, not the produce. Ew! Never thought about how disgusting it was of me to do that.

    We would always get that Brach’s pick-a-mix candy that you had to bag and weigh just as you did your veggies and fruit. You actually had to stand in a line and wait for the store worker to weigh your produce & candy and attach a price tag to it!!!

    Then you had to take a ticket to stand in line to order your meat. Another ticket, another line for the bakery. No wonder weekly grocery shopping on a Saturday was such an ordeal!!! I forgot about all the various lines you had to wait in until I started typing this.

    I hated the smell of the laundry aisle so much I would actually skip that aisle and wait for Mom in the next aisle over.

    We bought Coke in gigantic glass bottles. How many ounces were those bottles???? They were so heavy!

    And in conclusion, Smittys had the best pizza and cupcakes.

    • I loved the Pokey Little Puppy! There was one called The Very Best Home For Me that was another favorite. It was about all these little animals living together and sharing chores like cooking but they couldn’t agree on what to eat or how to tend the house because they were all so different. Lol.

      When I was very small, we took my grandma to the grocery every Thursday. She often would take me into the drug stores and buy me a little paper sack of penny candy – little fruity tootsie rolls and gum and things. Then we would go across the street to the bakery for donut holes to take home to my grandpa.

      Isn’t it funny the things you remember?

      I also remember taking her to both the Kroger and Piggly Wiggly because she could save a few cents in one thing at one or the other store!

      BTW, love your memory of eating the ice! That’s hilarious. And it seems like the glass bottles were 16 oz but could be wrong.

  2. When I was growing up, there was a store on Second Avenue in Gallipolis. It sold everything from books and toys to sanitary napkins. I know this because I bought a box (it had a rose on it, which I thought was pretty) because my mom asked me to bring home napkins for the dinner table!

  3. My daughter gave her all to Krogers. It will be difficult for her to start over. Sure, they offered her a job at Jackson Kroger, but the hours was not going to allow her to be home with her children. Disappointing to say the least. I watched her work very hard to get her hours to move up at Krogers and she did it! she was able to get where she needed to be in order to be home and watch her children grow, only for them to close their doors and start her struggle all over again. She will move on I’m sure, but less pay, probably part time. All in all, her heart breaks to leave the many customers she served over the years in the home town Kroger. She’s already worried about her and her children’s future, but I know shes got this! All the employees will be missed. Great job team Kroger of Wellston! I wish the best for each and everyone of you as you move forward! Good luck to you all! Push forward but never forget your customers and the lives you were able to touch while employed by Wellston local grocery. You’ve got this!

    • I am so sorry for your daughter. They’ve had wonderful people work here over the years and I know the customers will miss folks like your daughter. Here’s hoping your daughter lands in her feet and that something works out for her.

      • Thank you hun. She absolutely loved her customers and She’s a strong person. I believe she will make it through, just wish it was still with Kroger. Thank you again.

      • I still remember Kroger cashiers from my childhood and sometimes wonder whatever happened to them. I bet she made more of a difference than she knows.

  4. There’s also no self checkout to take the place of the friendly cashiers and baggers. That may be the part I will miss the most – the people and the unwavering personal service they provide.
    The words above is exactly what people want a store to be like. This person knew what this store means to a small town
    No self check outs Respect for our area, respect for our Senior citizens where as they don’t have to worry about how far they have to travel to get to a store. This store was like a community store where everyone would be able to shop and visit.
    If someone is writing our town off as if it’s nothing then SHAME ON THE CEO’S if they are letting this happen. I’m hoping KROGER steps up and takes care of this community.
    I LIVE where there is a large store. They put in self check outs and force people to use them, like last night at 10pm. Not one checkout was open and everyone was pretty irate. It has to be these younger group if high ups taking the places of the older manager/ etc. They think it’s the way to save money. Check out yourself, bag your own and NOT GET A DISCOUNT for doing it,. REALLY?
    We need to tell Kroger that new tech ideas don’t always serve people the way they think.
    serves people the way it always did. THATS WHAT KEEPS LOYAL CUSTOMERS and a GREAT STORE!
    Maybe they need to bus Customers from every town to meet with these big young higher ups to tell them what life is all about and not be so selfish as not to build a bigger better down home kind of store the way it was meant to be.
    BOB EVANS was a smart man and knew how to run a business the new owners have followed his ideals.

    • I loathe self checkout and won’t use it. My understanding is that we have the building owner to blame. Evidently Kroger was prepared to sign a long term lease but the building owner demanded an exorbitant price to sell it to them. I hate to see this place go and feel terrible for the employees and people who depend on it. My community was a food desert for a long time but are lucky to have Campbell’s Market here now. They cut your meat fresh and even carry your groceries to your car. Good old fashioned customer service!

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