Eighty-two year old Ida Green greeted me with a wide smile as I stepped into her country grocery store. She stood at her small checkout counter facing the front entrance door to her 24’x34’ store. I introduced myself and told her that I heard about her store through a local man who has lived most of his life in the area. We did a bit of small talk and then I proposed that I write a little story about her life of fifty plus years of being an owner of the only store for miles in a rural part of Madison County. She agreed to do so but corrected me and told me that the fifty-two years included early years when her mother was the original owner. She became the owner after her mother relinquished ownership. However, family is family – Miss Ida was still involved in the operation of the store for the fifty-two years plus.
|MISS IDA'S SHINY WHITE GROCERY STORE SNUGGLED ALONG|
A COUNTRY ROAD WITH A FEW OTHER HOMES
The cement block grocery store remains physically the same as when her mother first bought it.
|MISS IDA'S OUTDOOR SIGN|
The following is part of her story of how times were different fifty-two years ago from present times:
When I first started with the store, folks around here all had large gardens, horses, a milk cow, chickens, hogs and other animals. Most could feed themselves with what they had except for a few staples and that is where we played a part. During those early years most of our sales were in bulk. Coffee, sugar, corn meal, and flour were our big sellers. We sold other things like fresh meat that we would cut and wrap with paper and string for our customers. I still have the paper cutter in the store but don’t use it. Can’t sell fresh meat anymore as we don’t have running water and the health department tells us we have to have it to sell fresh meat. I still have the old meat case that kept the meat cold but now I only put pre-prepared food that needs refrigeration in the case.
|COW BELL SERVING AS A STORE BELL ANNOUNCING CUSTOMERS |
WHEN YOU OPEN THE ENTRANCE DOOR
In this area, times have changed considerably from fifty years ago. It used to be that people lived more independently on their small farms, were trustworthy, and really no crimes were committed. The doctor in the area made house calls – he even set up a clinic once in awhile in our store to give vaccinations. Horses were still used, in some cases, for transportation. Today one has to deal with drugs, break-ins, and dependence on large grocery stores for your everyday food. Raising your own food is becoming rarer as time passes.
|CUSTOMER STANDING AT THE SMALL CHECKOUT COUNTER|
Many of the old time farmers grew tobacco for their way of earning money. They would run a charge at the store until their crop would be sold and then they would pay us. This could be up to a year that we would carry over their charges on our books. No such thing as charge cards – we just wrote it down as they put things on charge. They always paid their debt.
At one time we had a gas pump where we sold Ashland gas, mostly to farmers for their tractors.
|VINTAGE SCALE STILL ACCURATE|
I am a native of Kentucky -- married and divorced with four children. I have lived in the same house for sixty years right near here. Recently, the post office named the street after me as I had lived the longest on the street of any of my neighbors. It is now called Ida Green Lane. She smiled as she said it.
|VINTAGE WHITE ENAMELED MEAT CASE|
Miss Ida has a spot located in the back of the store where she has two very comfortable upholstered chairs and a large screen television. She laughed as she told me that this is where she sits and watches soap operas when she is not busy with the store.
|COMMUNITY BULLETIN BOARD |
ON FRONT OF CHECK OUT COUNTER
The place where the store is located has had many names over the years – Bear Wallow, Dreyfus, and Waco. It was called Bear Wallow during the early settlement days as bears were frequently seen at the local salt lick. Bear Wallow is still commonly used to designate the location
|THE OFFICIAL SIGN ANNOUNCING THE |
NAME OF THE LANE THAT MISS IDA LIVES ON
Overall, the store contains a variety of goods and vintage pieces. It is neat as can be and a charming place to stop to pick up a few essentials
Miss Ida is a realist, she knows that times change and she is making adjustments to the supplies she carries to keep pace with present needs. Ida Green’s Grocery does serve the locals well.