The market carried quite a selection of items. The deli case contained all kinds of lunch meats such as bologna, ham, turkey, roast beef, pickle and pimento loaf, livercheese, ham and cheese loaf and pickled bologna and pickled eggs. Milk, bacon, eggs, sausage, hamburger, and some produce was also offered for sale. We also carried dog food, all kinds of cleaning supplies, and detergents, bread, cereal, canned foods, chips, candy, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snuff, cold and flu medicines, cough syrup, ice cream by the box and on the stick, nails, caps, bandannas,
sunglasses, bb’s, some small toys, and oil, gas, kerosene, and feed. I had jawbreakers, every kind of candy bar imaginable, Little Debbie cakes, and the best delivery men you could find.
I ordered from several different wholesale houses in surrounding areas. Madison Wholesale out of Richmond would send a representative to the store on Mondays and then deliver on Tuesday or Wednesday. There was a milkman, breadman, pepsi man, coke man, rc cola man, ice man, chip man, and several other wholesale houses that delivered their goods. They often left samples of their products and also gave my girls boxes of candy at Christmas.
The state would send around people ever so often to check out my meat scales and the gas pumps to make sure they were set correctly and no one was getting cheated. There was even a guy that came from the state to check my eggs! He would put a small light on an egg and would be able to see inside. I, often thought, what a job to have! One where you are furnished a car to drive and all you do is check eggs in grocery stores. Most of my delivery people and the state guys would always sit for a spell and chat, and if it was near lunchtime, they would have a sandwich and a cold soda pop.
The Health Department would send a health inspector once a year to check out the store. I never knew when or what time this person would show up. I don’t think I ever fell below a grade ninty-eight during inspection. Once they marked me down a point for having a bag of dogfood sitting on the floor. It could not be touching the floor! Another time they took a point off for a mop sitting on the floor. It was supposed to be hanging upside down on the wall. It was never anything big just little petty stuff.
I really had a time getting an ice machine for the place. The ice house in Danville would not deliver to me because it was so far out in the country and twenty some miles. I had an old Chevy wagon and I would go to Danville once a week, get twenty five bags of ice and cover it with blankets, haul it to the store, and put it in a freezer, just so my customers could have ice.
They finally realized that I was selling enough ice to pay them to deliver to me and to furnish me with an ice machine. Sometimes, during the summer months, they would have to deliver to me more than once because I sold so much ice for beer and soft drinks to the farmers and field hands. I never put a lock on that ice machine and I don’t think I ever had any ice stolen from me. Many a time after the store closed I would look out and someone was getting ice but they always came in the next day and paid for it. The same thing with the bags of feed I kept on the front porch. There may be a bag missing when I opened in the morning but it was paid for by closing time.
Many was the time, someone would pay me for so much gas, go out and pump it and come back to give me three or four cents where they ran over the amount.
I owned the store for a little over seven years and in all that time I had one cold check that I did not collect on and it was for thirty-five dollars. That sure says a lot about the kind of people living in the Forkland area. (To be continued)