I think there have to be lots of families that share one common detail. Maybe it’s something pleasant, like they all golf. Maybe it’s something worse, like they all smoke crack. Among plenty of families in this world there is a bond that they can speak about over dessert after dinner. In my family it was grocery stores.
Almost 40 years ago my grandpa opened his first grocery store in Minneapolis. I cannot remember what it was called when he opened it, but when I was born it was called King’s SuperValu. Since, there have been several stores built and opened, sold and bought under many different names. Currently there are four still owned by my extended family.
During those forty years the following family members have worked at the stores: my mom, my dad, my two sisters, myself, four uncles, one aunt, five cousins, and to prove it’s a small world both tg and his mother worked there in the past.
When I was young we would go shopping as a corny little family and see literally all of the extended family we had in the area while we were in the store. My two sisters and I were allowed to walk into the stock rooms and receive damaged Popsicles from our uncles. We were shown off to the pretty cashiers. This makes me wonder if we were paraded as toddlers to be chick magnets for my uncles, who were then unmarried.
All my life “going to the store” meant going to the family store closest to wherever we lived at the time. I was not allowed to look messy when we went and I was not for any reason under the sun allowed to go into another grocery store unless we were on vacation.
Sister, Me, Sister, Cousin- Minnesota store.
When I was fifteen, my dad decided he would like to buy his own store. He wanted to own one in his home state of Washington. Off we went to Oroville, a town smaller than your coffee table and we were then the new-business-owning family in town.
The store was small, with only a dozen or so employees. My family accounted for half of those employees being as my cousin had moved to the town to work in the store as well. Our first week living there the humble newspaper printed a story about us with a wonderfully embarrassing photo of the family in it. So much for quietly easing my way into my new high school.
I think we look more like a bowling team-Oroville store.
I worked there nights and weekends without choice for the next several years. I did, however, enjoy it. My favorite nights to work were with my sister Sarah. She had a care free attitude towards the job and took full advantage of her cute-as-a-button-innocent look.
For instance: when my dad asked her to make a sign for the cantaloupe melons on sale for 39 cents a pound, she drew a picture of a bride crying and a sheepish looking groom. Underneath the picture she wrote:
“Can’t Elope-39 Cents.”
Other masterpieces of hers included making a sign for bundles of wood that said:
Bundle’s of Wood Joy! 2.49
I think my favorite Sarah moments were the times that high school boys would enter the store. I was on the shy side and she loved to announce to them as they entered, “My sister told me she has a crush on you!” And I would be stuck there, my mouth slightly opened in shock, trying to figure out how to dismiss this claim. My only method for revenge was to post less than flattering pictures of herself to our schools bulletin board located in the commons area. She, of course, would retaliate with worse pictures of me in the same space the next day.
I did actually work some of the time I was there. I cashiered, I manned the video department, and I faced the shelves. Facing is just making it look like they are all full and pretty by pulling the boxes and the cans forward to the front of the shelf.
In 2000, my parents stopped with the grocery owning business and we all ended up in Seattle, with the exception of my oldest sister who decided to marry and dwell in Oroville, possibly forever. It was the first time I did not have a store to shop at that was my family’s in my whole life. And to be honest, it was weird.
Now I live back in MN, but too far to shop at any of the family stores. So, I pretty much starve.
Your family doesn’t age much do they?
Well, the first picture is from 1994, the second from 98 or 99. So they are both kinda old.
i am still a patron of a king store. sarah always had a fantastic way to pass the time.
Yes, even though she is my sister and I have known her since forever, she still amazes me.
Great trip down family-owned-business lane. It’s experiences like these that make us into good people – and give us our great sense of sarcasm toward humanity!
i still get the “now we going to the store you have to be on your best behavior” talk and the “you can’t wear that we’re going to the store” talk everytime i go! i’m almost twenty years old i think i know how to dress/act! haha
Yeah, you should ask your dad if you can work there Ally, see what he says.
I have to add to this (instead of study for my final). When we moved to eastern Washington we were in a lot of shock because it was like we were moving back in time. Now, I see the place as just more relaxed. I love it! But as high schoolers from the city, the tiny cow town was a shocker! When people would rent videos from the video department of the grocery store, they’d only have to give us the last for digits of their phone #, because there was only one prefix. Also, a lot of people didn’t have physical addresses. So, literally, you could rent a video by writing on a dusty piece of paper your last name, and four numbers. Needless to say, we lost a lot of movies to the hills. The area is so remote, that the school district we were in is larger than the state of Rhode Island. I can’t wait to go back!!!!
Oh yeah! We sold a beer that came in white cans with just the word “beer” on them. Black lettering meant it was regular, and red lettering meant it was light. I was only 17 then, but I’d love to find some “BEER” beer and give it a try! Okay, now I have to go study.
I didn’t know places like that existed.
Like… I thought that was stuff they wrote into TV shows.
It’s really nice to know that there are still places like that.
And your sis sounds pretty witty. I can only imagine if I knew her and the terrible fun we’d get into.
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