by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
If you are a regular reader of The Voice, my monthly newsletter from the Historical Society, you will no doubt remember many references to grocery stores in Grain Valley.
From the beginning, the Cannon Mercantile and Jacob Gregg’s grocery store supplied canned and dried foods, fresh meat, produce and farm fresh eggs in a crate to the residents of Grain Valley.
Other stores supplied groceries to Grain Valley over the years. Bill and Addie (Cannon) Minter took over the Cannon Mercantile and later relocated a few stores to the north in the current Historical Society Building. For a while Anna Louise (Perkins) and Cecil Poage ran the store and lived in the back.
Wayne Minter owned the store when it closed in the late 50s. Clyde Fristoe moved his grocery business from Sni Mills to Grain Valley in the late 1930’s. And the Crull’s had a mercantile store in late 1940’s and early 50s.
Perhaps the longest run, as grocery stores go, was the Frantz Grocery Store on the east side of Main Street. Roland Frantz, younger son of Ray and Ella (last weeks’ story) and Louise (Huff) Frantz operated a store there for 25 years. It closed in 1973.
Frantz Grocery was one of the last old-time stores of its kind, offering services that slowly died out with the introduction of modern supermarkets.
The grocery store specialized in high-quality meat and Mr. Frantz and his butcher, Otis Williams, cut it for the customer’s needs. If Mom needed a 3-pound roast, that’s what she got! If company was coming it might be 4 or 5-pounds. If you ordered hamburger it was ground just before it went into the wrapper and a variety of lunch meats could be bought by the slice.
When the store closed, Roland Frantz reminisced about his stores’ past. He recalled Saturday’s when as many as 25 customers would drop off their grocery list; he would fill their orders and deliver the food to their homes.
On Saturday evening, he remembered “...the farmers would come to town to buy groceries, gather around the old coal stove and talk” until he had to kick ’em out at midnight.
Behind the check-out counter were the “ticket” books. Like other stores in Grain Valley, Frantz’s Grocery extended credit. I don’t recall my family having a “charge account” at the store, but my grandmother did and occasionally she allowed me to get a candy bar or my favorite Hostess cupcakes and put them on her ticket!
Does anyone recall the grocery delivery van? I remember it was usually parked in the alley behind the store, and I think it was some type of brown panel truck, but I can’t be sure. My family only rarely got deliveries, but I can remember Mom buying groceries for Grandma and having them delivered.
After the grocery store closed Grain Valley residents only had a convenience store for several years. The population in 1973 was probably less than one-tenth of our current size. Now we have not only Price Chopper, but 4 gas station convenience stores.
And, just for the record, you can only charge with “plastic,” the eggs are in cartons, and there are no home deliveries!
Visit Grain Valley Historical Society online at www.grainvalleyhistory.com.
Frantz Grocery Store on the east side of Main Street operated by Roland Frantz.
Photo credit: Grain Valley Historical Society