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By Linda Emley
Some of our best memories come from simple everyday things that we miss when they are no longer a part of our life.
Richmond is losing a piece of history and it makes me sad because it truly is the end of a way of life in small-town America.
The Richmond Apple Market grocery store is closing its doors and future generations will never know the joy of a grocery store that has “bag boys” who carry your groceries to the car.
A few days ago, I was at the Apple Market check-out counter talking to Marian Berning. I told her I didn’t have a story yet for this week and she suggested I write a story about Apple Market closing. So this story is for Marian and all my friends that have worked for the last grocery store standing in Richmond.
While at Apple Market, I ran into Bob MacDonald and asked him if I could have a piece of the “Apple” for the museum. I felt strange asking him, but he understood and said he would see what he could find. I got a few of the Apple Market reuseable carry-out bags, but I want one of the lane signs or something big that we can share with future generations. I want them to know that the “Apple” was the last grocery store in Richmond’s long line of grocery stores.
I bought a can of oysters and planned on saving it, but I opened it and you know the rest of that story. I’m planning a trip back to Apple to find another can to save. I also want to pick up a brown paper grocery sack with the apple logo on it. It may seem strange to many of us, but paper sacks are almost a thing of the past, too.
Over the years, I’ve created a tradition of buying a lottery ticket at Apple Market because I dreamed of winning the lottery and saving the store. If a store sells a winning ticket, they get some money. I’m sad that this weekly ruitual is going to drop off my bucket list of things I want to do before I die.
Bob’s United Super Market moved from 808 East Main to the Richmond Hills Shopping Center Aug. 21,1980. The 1980 Richmond phone book shows two other grocery stores in town – Harold’s Super Market at 218 E. North Main and the Richmond IGA Food Liner on East Lexington St. The Harold’s location is now the Salvation Army and the Ray County Library is now at the former IGA location.
Since I was looking at the old Richmond phone books, I thought it would be interesting to use them and capture a glimpse of the grocery stores from our past.
The oldest phone book I could find was 1935. This sounded like an easy task, but then I remembered that the older phone books didn’t have a yellow page section. After seaching all 10 pages, I found the following grocery stores: Clevenger Murry grocery store, the Herman Emley Grocery Store, East End Grocery, the Fletcher & Simms Grocery, the John Joy grocery store,, the Piggly Wiggly Bird Co., Richmond Grocery, the I.C. Snowden Grocery, the White and Blair Grocery and the Lonnie Watson Grocery. Other food stores were the Rex Carter Meat Market, Consumer Meat Market, Richmond Produce Co., Richmond Cheese Co., Sunshine Dairy and the Charles Perkins Bakery. You could also pick up flour, eggs, cream and poultry at Ray-Carroll Coop.
That makes 10 grocery stores, a bakery, a cheese company and two meat markets, and we can’t forget Lillard’s Creamery.
Did you notice the Herman Emley grocery store? Herman’s son, H.L. Emley, would have been my father-in-law, but he died before I married into the Emley clan. I’ve heard many wonderful stories about the Emley Grocery Store over the years, but they’re almost a thing of the past now because H. L. Emley died in 1964.
After his death, the Emley Grocery Store was sold to Joe Thompson, a family member.
I got out another phone book to find all the grocery storeis in 1964 Richmond. This list was easy to find because the book had a Yellow Pages. The list started out with the A & P on East Main Street, the Emley store on West Lexington, Foster’s on South Thornton, IGA on Shaw Street, Jim Johnson’s on East Main, South Side Grocery on Main Street, Paul Thompson’s on West Lexington, Stewart’s Grocery and Liquor store on West Lexington and Ray-Carroll COOP is once again listed as a grocery store.
The Emley, Thompson and Foster stores were run by men that were all related, so I wonder who got the Thanksgiving turkey for their family dinners.
And another chapter is done in the history book we call “The Way it was in Ray County.”
If you have a memory of one of Richmond’s old grocery stores, a memento or a photo of what one of them looked like, let Linda know at firstname.lastname@example.org.