By JoEllen Black/Richmond News
An S.O.S. – “Save Our Store” – was sounded last week in an online Facebook campaign for residents to shop locally owned Richmond Apple Market Saturday. One hundred seventy nine on Facebook pledged to shop. A plea by Camden resident Theresa O’Dell in an Oct. 1 letter published in the Richmond News rang the bell.
“We can’t do nothing,” O’Dell wrote. “Let’s find a way to keep this store going. Please!”
“We can NOT let Richmond Apple Market go out of business!” posted Kathy Platz, in response to O’Dell’s letter. “It is the best store between here and KC for meat … and is the best place – period – for customer and personalized service. The time to act and to raise our voices is NOW!”
The store is facing financial difficulties and recently, signs of its distress were visible by empty shelves in the cheese and canned goods aisles. Saturday, however, shelves were well stocked and were awaiting a big customer base, which came to the aid of the store.
Throughout the day, the store was busy with shoppers, “like old days,” many longtime customers said.
Some shoppers said they were unaware of the campaign, but were regular customers who were there for the weekly specials. Most were aware of the “shop Saturday” event. Others, like Ed and Julie Roberson, Billy Cringan and Noah Estes, wanted to do more. They helped with a Saturday grocery truck of canned vegetables that were part of the week’s sale circular.
“I saw it on Facebook and told my husband we got to shop Saturday and be part of the solidarity,” Jill Noble said.
Along with her pocket book, Noble, an ordained minister, also brought the power of prayer.
“He (Noble’s husband Ray) and I prayed before we went in and we were so happy to see so many cars in the parking lot,” she said.
Spontaneous prayer circles generated in the store, she said, as people who knew her asked to pray with her and husband Ray. One of those moments included Apple Market co-owner Bob MacDonald, who said he was deeply touched by Noble’s faith and compassion.
“People came and bought all they could,” Apple Market co-owner Larry Bowman said. “If they continue shopping, we’ll be here.”