Carmichael's Grocery Draft
All works are currently unfinished
IU H 106
ec: This is Eric Carmichael, interviewing Anna Mae Lewis on May 8, 2008. Do I have permission to interview you?
ec: Do I have permission to record this interview on tape?
al: Yes, you do.
ec: And do I have permission to submit this information to my history class at school and to the Marion Public Library?
al: Yes, you do.
ec: Ok, then let's get started. Do you know why the family purchased a grocery store?
al: Well my dad worked at a grocery store and always wanted one, so we decided to buy this particular one from the Fergusons, who had previously owned it.
ec: What year did the grocery store open?
al: It was in April of 1943.
ec: What was the address?
al: 2311 West 9th St.
ec: Now was this during WWII?
al: Yes, it was, and when your Uncle David and Uncle Jim [her brothers] came home, they worked here also.
ec: Were there many jobs around town?
al: Yes, actually there very many jobs.
ec: What kind of jobs were available around town?
al: Well, for one there was the Malleable, and Canton Glass was another pretty big one, and um Bell Fiber were some of the other main ones.
ec: Ok, so where did most people live that shopped there then?
al: Most of the people lived in the west side of town.
ec: Well, did people hang around in the store, or maybe a place uh people could sit outside, or?
al: Well, in the back of the store there was a stove where people sometimes sat around and talked or waited on people to get done getting their things.
ec: Ok, well then did kids shop there?
al: Well, not really, well not young kids or anything. After the war was over, like I said after Uncle Dave and Uncle Jim [her brothers] came home, they worked there.
ec: Were there other grocery stores in the neighborhood or close by?
al: Yes, Ramps.
ec: Well then who did more business between the two of you?
al: Well really all about the same, Eric.
ec: Were there any big grocery stores uh like a Marsh or anything like that in town at the time?
al: No, um no supermarkets. Just local stores.
ec: Ok then, just really local stores, ok. What did you sell?
al: Vegetables, fruit, meat, candy, just about everything. It was, in a way, like a general store.
ec: Ok. So where did you get your products? Locally or out of town or what?
ec: Locally, ok. So where would you have gotten it from?
al: Well, Dietson’s Bakery was there in town, and Marion Pure Milk delivered the milk everyday.
ec: Also, I was wondering could people uh pay on credit or?
al: Yes, they could. Your uncle Jim was always upset when the customers would always come back and wouldn’t pay on their credit and upset that they owed money to the store. But my, your great grandfather [her Father] would always tell people that was ok, and that could still get more groceries. Your uncle Jim wouldn’t ever not let them get more groceries either.
ec: Now was that a pretty frequent thing or not or?
al: It was, yes. Most people in fact paid on credit and then would come in when they got paid of Friday with their checks to settle up their accounts.
ec: Did you guys deliver groceries to people that uh had a regular list or uh?
al: No, um no we didn’t deliver to anyone.
ec: Did you guys have food stamps or ration stamps or uh well anything like that?
al: Yes. People had to have stamps during that time to get things like meat, which was a red stamp and blue stamps were for canned goods.
al: Cigarettes were rationed, certain fruits, depending on where they came from.
ec: So, then you guys sold cigarettes, tobacco, and everything like uh that?
ec: Uh I was also wondering how many people were employed there at the time?
al: Well myself and your great grandmother and great grandfather [her mom and dad].
ec: Um, so just all family members then?
ec: So, no one ever worked there outside of the family?
ec: So I was wondering also uh, did you guys do all your business on the west side of town?
al: Well, yes, for the most part. Most people who lived in that area or that side of town shopped there, the same people that worked at the Malleable.
ec: Was there a main time when uh you guys were busy?
al: Friday evening after everyone got paid was usually fairly busy.
ec: So, how close were some of the big factories in relationship to the store? Close at all?
al: Just the Malleable, a lot of the others were over on Factory Avenue.
ec: How many other groceries were there around town?
al: Well uh, I am not sure around the whole city like down town but the west end there was just George Ramps and us.
al: Well uh also with things being rationed can goods and stuff, they were blue stamps. Meat was red. Coffee was rationed
ec: So people bought things with them?
al: Well no, you had to have them to buy anything.