The town I live in has about 5,000 residents and is a "walkable" community. It ranks as 52 out of 100 if you use a town address in the search menu. We don't have any stoplights, only one main four-way intersection. It is a town where I can park at one shop in town and easily walk to the grocery, library, CVS, several restaurants (two pizza shops, McDonald's, Mexican, a full service restaurant and Subway are your options), two beer and wine stores, two really cute stores for gifts and housewares, and a few other service stores (hair, nails, dry cleaning) if I needed them. This has become especially attractive since the birth of my son because as any parent knows, doing the whole in and out of the car seat and stroller act gets old after a few errands. So, we would park, unload, do our errands on foot (also fresh air and exercise!) and head home.
Last week we lost our grocery store, Selby's Market. What is a small town without a grocery? According to a 2008 article on Yahoo!, a grocery store is a necessity in a small town because otherwise neighboring stores may increase prices out of necessity, residents can no longer shop in their own zipcode for food. There have been discussions that our property values have decreased because we do not have a grocery store, rather some food at CVS and some organic items at a small market on "the other end" of town. The Selby's have been a part of our community for 65+ years in one capacity or another. I have heard that their grocery was in this building (now a dance studio) and that building (now a gym) and then to its last location, anchoring one of our plazas. On the community Facebook page, residents have discussed the turmoil of Selby's closing its doors and what it means for the community. But you know what? I didn't do my part.
I am as guilty as the next person for doing my main grocery shopping 12 minutes down the road at Harris Teeter or 18 minutes down the road at Giant (hello gas points). The variety of produce, meats, cheeses and basic items, frequently at a wonderful price, lured me in. And I really like these grocery stores, I'm not going to say I don't since I don't lie on my blog (or in real life). So, I would frequent Selby's for staple items if I ran out and some things here or there such as eggs, milk, a frozen pizza and the BEST fried chicken ever. But I wouldn't call myself a loyal customer.
Why am I saying all this? Well just because I didn't give enough monetarily to support their business, the Selby family are some of the greatest folks in our community. A few go to church with us and they opened their hands and hearts from the first service we attended. They came out from behind the counter to say hello, ask how things were going and make your child laugh. They'd help you bring bags to your car. Heck, one Saturday morning they let my husband in before the store technically opened to buy coffee, Bisquik and The Washington Post. And to top it off, today, one of their sons called me about a beautiful metal wagon I inquired about in the store. I asked to purchase the wagon to use for William's birthday party a few weeks ago and they took my name and number. He called to ask if the party had passed or if I still wanted to borrow the wagon. He wouldn't even let me pick it up…he brought it to my home.
In the end, the Selby's business may not have been the success they had hoped, but my golly, they raised some wonderful children and they will all have a special place in our heart. Just because we no longer have a grocery store, doesn't mean we are a community without good people with good hearts and character.