Elliot Jones.

In the middle part of the twentieth, Ohio County residents were becoming knowledgeable of grocery stores that carried much more than the bare essentials. These larger stores furnished shopping carts and the customer walked around the store pushing the cart, adding the items they wanted to the cart. Individual transportation was beginning to be the norm and a trip or two a month to these larger stores was an outing. It was a different type experience and grocery items were varied and plentiful. The cost was much higher than what the customer was used to and the bill had to be paid at the time of purchase. None-the-less, a "Grocery Shopping Trip" to a larger city was beginning to become a necessity, or at least the shopper wanted to think so.

Meanwhile, the "Small Town Grocery" still existed and was located in about every area where there were a few houses. Just in the Echols area, and including Tunnel Hill and Punkin Ridge, were four stores. I think that Claud Burden, Elliot Jones, Harry Cundiff and John Boone were all in the grocery business in the same time frame. Some of these stores lasted for over a quarter of a century, while others lasted for much less.

Elliot Jones must have been a person that was just destined to be a grocer. Like Jamie Reid and others, he just seemed to be the most content when in the grocery business. In the mid-forties, Elliot opened a grocery in Rockport. The store was in a small building across the street from where the Rockport Hotel was located. I do not remember his store, although we lived in Rockport in that time frame. Across Main Street from the old Rockport Hotel was a three building complex. Facing this complex, The Redman Building was in the center. On the left was a theater/opera house type building that was showing movies in this time frame. The building on the right side of the Redman Building and on the Green River side is where I think that Eliot opened his grocery. He may have been located in the Redman Buliding. The old theater is firmly etched in my mind. The other building is just a faint memory. The Redman Building still stands, while the buildings on either side of it are gone, along with the old jail building.

In the late forties, Elliot moved his family to Echols. He shut down his grocery business in Rockport and opened a new store in Echols. Initially, I was having memory problems trying to place Elliot's Grocery, but with help from Dale Thomas, on the Echols location, and from June J. May on the other details, I am beginning to remember the Jones' Grocery Store. This Echols Grocery was located on Hwy. 1245 and across the highway from where the new post office building is currently located. It was about half-way between the old Burden's store and the Echols Church Road. Mr. and Mrs. Elliot Jones kept their store opened for several more years. The mines in the area employed several hundred people and the outdoorsmen were finding good places to fish and hunt in the area. The Echols community was also beginning to prosper and positive growth continued for many more years. All of these conditions contributed to a good market for the business places. Times were good in the fifties and sixties for most all concerned. Times and conditions change though, and the larger grocery stores in Beaver Dam and Hartford were beginning to lure the customers of the small communities. The "Mom and Pop" type grocery was beginning to be a thing of the past. Now, where there were five or more grocery stores in the Echols Community and about that many in Rockport, there is only one "Quick-Pick" type store for the local residents. Even Beaver Dam and Hartford have felt the effects of mass merchandising or large convenient stores that carry about everything that a family may need. Some will think that the few larger stores are better, while others may prefer the plentiful smaller stores. None-the-less, guess we vote with our pocketbook and we have selected the larger stores. May all of the old, small town, "Grocery Stores" never be forgotten.

See you......
jrd

:)



A jrd Web Page on 11/15/07.