SIDNEY — There has been a neighborhood grocery store at 684 Fair Road, right across the street from the entrance to the Shelby County Fairgrounds, since 1957.
That’s about to change.
Roger and Carl Wooddell, owner’s of Woody’s Market, will close the shop for good on Nov. 28.
“It’s not as profitable as it once was,” Roger told the Sidney Daily News Thursday. But staying in business for 40 years is an accomplishment in itself.
“We have the best customers. We have been blessed with good employees and the supportive family members, who have always been there to help us out. We have always believed in the best quality and fair prices,” Roger said about how they have achieved such longevity.
The brothers had put the business up for sale about a year ago and several people had expressed interest.
“But small business loans are very tight through the government right now. (They) couldn’t get the loan,” Roger said.
The hundred or more people who frequent the business each day will miss it. And the brothers and Carl’s wife, Sandy, who has worked in the store for decades, will miss them, too.
“You get to know your customers. You build a lot of friendships,” Sandy said. Those customers include people who stop by daily for a candy bar and a can of pop, others who purchase a week’s worth of meat on Saturdays and some who show up every single day to buy just the groceries they need for that day’s meals.
“You hear what goes on in people’s families. They’re pretty sharing with that. Your good, regular customers — they become like family,” Roger said.
Sandy echoed the sentiment and is surprised to realize she’s watched shoppers’ children grow up.
“Time has gone. When we were first here, people were coming in with their kids. Now, those kids are coming in with their kids,” she said.
Neighborhood residents still send their children to Woody’s with notes, listing what groceries they should take back home. And the staff still fill those orders. They still deliver groceries, too. But society has changed around the comfortable old store. Most shoppers seem to care more about convenience than quality and groceries are available at gas stations, drug stores, even lumber yards. It wasn’t always that way. And Woody’s is one of the last local markets of its size in the region.
Roger and Carl’s father, Harvey, who had been working at Sears, bought the store from Carl Singer in 1975. Singer had constructed the building im 1957 and moved his shop from S. Ohio Avenue at that time.
“(My father and I) were looking around at possibilities,” Roger said. He joined his father and they renamed Singer’s Market as Woody’s Market. He and Carl purchased the business from Harvey in 1989.
Roger had been a butcher at the IGA supermarket before he moved to Woody’s. He’s still a meat-cutter and his customers appreciate his talents.
“The fresh meat department has been our draw for years,” Roger said. “People ask, ‘Why is your meat so much different from (meat available at other supermarkets)?’ Because it’s fresh.”
The store is taking orders now for fresh turkeys for Thanksgiving.
The staff has changed through the years, but has steadily numbered about six. Working there is “a lot of fun,” Sandy said. She recalled Roger’s 40th or 50th birthday, when Harvey showed up at the store, dressed as a woman.
“That was a good time,” she said. “We always make little signs for everybody’s birthdays. That way, the customers can get in on it, too.”
Roger’s most vivid memory is of a car’s plowing through the front corner of the store several years ago. Within no time, television news crews from Dayton had joined local journalists to report on the extensive damage that had been done. The brothers had to rebuild that section of the facility.
It will go on the auction block, along with equipment and whatever stock is left, on Dec. 12. The brothers plan to run a sale during November to deplete their stock.
Neither they, nor Sandy, knows what will come next. None of them is ready to retire and Roger said he has no plans to purchase another business. He’s ready, however, to look the future squarely in the eye.
“I’ve been here for 40 years,” he said. “It’s time to shift gears.”
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824. Follow her on Twitter @PASpeelmanSDN.