Suwannee Store

by Lucille Millinor

 

     Before the time of super markets and prepackaged foods, there was a small grocery store at the corner of Drew Street and Jefferson Street, the Suwannee Store managed by Joe Millinor who came to Perry in early life and began operating the store in 1929 and was there and ran the store until about 1966 when his son took over. Later another son and his wife took over.

     In early years in the back of the store would be the kerosene pump where customers got a gallon for their lamps and other uses. Cooking oil came from a 55 gallon barrel, and you brought your own container. No foods were prepackaged. All sugar, rice, meal, and potatoes came in large sacks and one of the jobs of the clerks was to prepare them for sale by weighing them in five or ten pound paper sacks. There were no shopping carts. Customers would choose can goods and other items and put them on the counter to be totaled, but if you liked you could bring in your list and clerks would gather it for you, box it for you and you could pick up later. Groceries were also delivered to customers’ homes. If some items were not found in the Suwannee Store, clerks would be sent out to other downtown stores to secure. For a period of time there was no meat market, so clerks went next door to Woods Market to get meats that the customers wanted. Flour came in cloth bags- ten and twenty five pounds. Farmers also bought feed for their animals. This came in one hundred pound sacks- colorful and different designs. Some of these were used to make clothes for family members.

     A favorite spot for children was the glass candy case filled with a wide assortment of penny candy and also a large glass jar filled with big round cookies.

     Many Suwannee Store customers did not have cash to pay for their groceries each time they got them, but they had good credit ratings and could charge their purchases and pay when they did have the money. Some farmers had to wait until their crops were harvested and sold.

     Saturday was a very busy day at the store. It seemed that most people came to town then and stayed quite late so the store stayed open as long as anyone was around.

    Now the day of the Suwannee Store has gone by. It closed sometime in the 1970’s.

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