Grocery Store Shopping


Grocery shopping is so complicated these days and I for one declare that some of the inconveniences are all those additional products that the big box stores pack into their inventory.  I am not interested in buying holiday decorations while searching for fresh lettuce.

Growing up in Richland, the grocery store is where we bought items to prepare meals, not a patio umbrella, plumbing supplies or toys for the children.  It is apparent that these days' people are content with purchasing magazines and flowers arrangements for the cemetery while weighing up fresh fruit and vegetables and choosing canned goods.

In Richland, believe it or not, over the years we had countless family-owned and operated stores to include Gunnels' Grocery, where Otto worked as a teenager, Trotman's Grocery, the Suwannee Store operated by the Brazier family, Joe Gamble's Grocery which later was operated by the Long family, Cecil Ivey's Grocery, the Hilltop Gas and Grocery, and Adams City had stores in Richland, Preston and Lumpkin, one for Mr. Albert Adams and one each for his sons, Glenn and Terry Adams.  Hollis Parker had a store for years, and the Holloman's also sold groceries and supplies.

One unique feature of the stores in Richland was that we had a charge account at most of the establishments and when we went to purchase bread, milk and eggs for the family, we could also get snacks, or candy plus a soft-drink and perhaps some bubble gum.  On a hot summer day the two-piece popsicles and the pre-packaged ice creams were a welcomed treat, and after school we went by for afternoon refreshment.

In the summer many of the grocery stores displayed giant watermelons stacked up outside the store; those melons were sometimes relocated during the night by local teenagers but they promised that they never damaged the inventory or took one to eat; they just wanted to prank people.

When we moved to Milledgeville thirty years ago, I thought we had entered grocery-store heaven but every few years the stores became bigger and more complicated and changed names so often that we lost count, and I began to miss the family atmosphere that we enjoyed back home in Richland.  Then one day Otto contracted to renovate Joiner's Market downtown and reminded me that it had that hometown feel that I missed, and it was operated by a local family.

My grands preferred the bologna that I purchased there because it was fresher and slicked thick, it made the best sandwiches and was delicious with a slice of homegrown tomato on a piece of Sunbeam bread that was slathered with Duke's mayonnaise.   I enjoyed shopping at Joiner's Market and was sad when they decided to close the store; you cannot replace being called by name and that personal service.

I see them on Sunday at Black Springs Baptist Church, and I continue to urge Wiley and Bobbie Sue Miller to establish another hometown grocery store but as of now, they prefer to remain happily retired.


Brenda S. Brown 


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