LookBack12.31

Russell’s Shop-Rite stood on Highway 25 in Hartsville in the 1960s. It is one of many former grocery stores in town.

This week, as we finish one year and head into another, we also finish our look at local groceries. If anyone has photos or memories of any of the old establishments we have written about, please share them with us!

Since people have been living in what is now Trousdale County since the late 1700s (we have at least one surviving old home built before 1789) and we have been a county since 1870 (we celebrated 150 years as a county this year) it is obvious that a lot of businesses have come and gone.

The Historical Society keeps a registry of all local businesses and tries to keep it up to date. But our list of old businesses is the one that we personally enjoy the most. We are, after all, an historian.

Such is the case with our local groceries. Hartsville has seen grocers come and go.

As we wrote last week, the small grocery stores of the past have given way to larger supermarkets. The “Mom & Pop” stores of the early 1900s to the 1950s and 1960s are long gone.

In going through our archives we have stores that we haven’t written about, mostly for lack of info or photos, but that are still fresh in our memories.

For many years, Russell’s Shop-Rite stood on Highway 25.

Earlier it was Russell’s Super Market and carried the Cee Bee brand. I can remember walking up and down the aisles and hearing the creak of the wooden floors, which were well oiled to keep down dust!

That building is now Hartsville Pharmacy.

Another grocery that has changed names and owners is Hartsville Foodland, also on Highway 25.

When Hartsville saw the excitement of the construction of what was billed as “the world’s largest nuclear plant” in the early 1970s, there was also a lot of new construction in town. One site was a shopping centered on what had been the Franklin farm at the corner of Highway 25 and Broadway.

The new shopping center held several stores and one of them was a large new grocery store.

We have several old ads from the different groceries that have occupied space in the shopping center.

They include Houchen’s, Martin’s and Hartsville Foodtown.

Today, the grocery store is Hartsville Foodland.

Owner Jerry Gammon has given us the history of the store:

“Hartsville Foodland actually begins with a successful grocery in neighboring Smith County. The Gammon family had run a grocery in neighboring Carthage since 1978, which had grown and was very successful. Wanting to expand, Hartsville was chosen and an agreement to occupy the current location was worked out.

Hartsville Foodland opened the week of Thanksgiving in 1992. As with any start-up business, difficult times were ahead for a few years. With loyal employees like Gary Russell, Christine Wright, Sam Hix, Phillip Crowder and Vickie Cox, we were able to slowly grow the business. With the additions of Billy Oliver and John Ellis, our business continued to grow for the next fifteen or so years. The closing of a competitor made for a more rapid growth for Hartsville Foodland.

We are thankful for great employees who have worked with us through the years and the relationships we have developed. The best thing we sell is a caring relationship with our customers and employees.

The original owners were Willie and Christine Gammon, Jerry Gammon, Jackie Gammon and Jeanette Watts. Willie and Christine passed away in 1994 and 2002 respectively. Jackie moved to Murfreesboro and later Memphis for a few years before coming back to Hartsville and Foodland, where he recently retired. Jeanette Watts became more involved with life and children and retired from the business.

So, today you still have Jerry Gammon and Gary Russell as the current owners of Hartsville Foodland.”

Mark Presley is now the store manager.

We can only surmise what the future holds for Hartsville businesses, but we wish our current business establishments good luck for the New Year. We also hope that, perhaps, more small enterprises will recognize Hartsville as a great place to operate and open up shop!

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