The old community grocery stores that once dotted our country side are all gone now. Once a common sight and an important necessity to our rural communities, they are now just a part of our past history. With the popularity of brightly lit and easily accessible supermarkets, the old general stores began to fade from the scene, leaving behind a much simpler time in our past history.
Here are two of our past old general stores.
The Ben F. Drennan store was located on the Cave Spring Church Road off of S. R. 120. It was a little wooden frame store building. Mr. Kenneth Drennan, who lives on S. R. 120, and was born and raised in the area, remembers stopping at the store as a child on his way walking to the Olive Branch School. He would purchase some items to go in his lunch sack.
Items such as can goods, soft drinks for 5 cents, soda crackers and potted meat were popular items. The store contained a show case with different kinds of candy in it.
The store served the people in the community and families from nearby Cave Spring area. The little token in the left corner of the picture was a sales token given to Mr. Drennan's customers, it says Ben Drennan and value 1 cent.
This picture was made in the late 1990's, the little wooden store building has now been gone for many years.
Out on S. R. 506 sat another small wooden store building. When it was in business in the 1920's and 30's it was owned and operated by Mr. Ewing James. Ewing and Bessie James home was located where Baron and Patty Guess now live. This little store was once a thriving county grocery store. Raymond Duffy remembers when the store was an important part of the community. The store carried all the staples that farm families would need, also included were kerosene and gas. Mr. Duffy also purchased his tobacco here. The only items that were not in stock were meat and milk items since Mr. James didn't have an ice box or refrigerated department to keep these items.
Since most families didn't have cars and couldn't get into Marion to buy their supplies they would depend on the James Grocery for their needs. Friday and Saturday's were always the busiest days and sometimes there would be six of seven wagons gathered around the little store besides the local people that would walk to the store.
Mr. Duffy also remembers that there used to be a large wind mill located beside the store. Maybe 50 feet tall with blades of 6 foot width. The store had a basement with a grinder wheel located there. From the wind mill was a belt or pulley that went into the basement and was attached to the grinder. On windy days, with the wind mill to power the stone grinder, Mr. James would have his grinder open for business and would sharpen the farmer's plow blades and other items that needed sharpening.
Mr. Huley Guess owned the building next and it was used for storage. Probably then were the glass front windows taken out and replaced with the large wooden doors. This little store building was recently taken down in 2010. It had stood it's ground for many a year.
This picture was made just prior to it being torn down in 2010.