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The Grocery Store on the Corner, 1914-1942


By 1914, the venerable Creel Building had stood on the exit corner of Campbellsville Street and the Square for nearly a century and had housed myriad business operations, including the Adair County News in its infancy, the short lived Citizens Bank, and perhaps most (in)famously, the Winfrey Hotel, ground zero of the 1873 cholera outbreak in Adair County.

In the summer of 1914, the Garrison Bros. moved their grocery store from the west corner of the public square to "the brick building in the north-east corner of the square, owned by Mr. Jas. T. Page and formerly occupied by Mr. Henry Ingram."

Bert Epperson bought out the brothers Garrison toward the end of 1916, and almost exactly three years later, ads began appearing for the firm of Keene & Hoy (sic; should be Hay), "successors to Bert Epperson," stating they were "doing business at the same stand" as Mr. Epperson had. The two new proprietors were Clarence Elmer Keen(e) and James T. Hay.

This partnership lasted but briefly, dissolving at summer's end 1920, with the former owners apparently selling to the brothers Willis, as a short notice in the January 17, 1922 News stated Stanley Epperson (Bert's son) had sold his stock of goods located "in the basement of Russell's & Co.," bought the stock of the Willis Bros., and was "doing business on the corner."

A few months later, Elmer Keen(e) purchased a half interest in Epperson's operation, and an ad for the business in the late spring of 1928 informed shoppers the enterprise carried "[A] full line of Standard Brands, canned goods, fruits, vegetables, dry meats, soaps, fresh bread, candies, cold drinks. That Good Gulf Gas and Oil. Phone 153. Free delivery and full weight."

Epperson & Keen sold their grocery business to Columbian George Hancock and Bingham Moore of Cane Valley in early March, 1934. The new owners stated, via paid advertising, they would "continue in business at the same location on the northeast corner of the public square..."

The following year, a newsletter from Cane Valley published in late March stated Mr. Moore had sold his interest in the firm to Mr. Hancock. The latter-name gentleman continued operating the Corner Grocery solo until shortly after the United States entered World War II.

This story was posted on 2020-11-15 08:45:43
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Ad for the Corner Grocery, Nov 1935

2020-11-15 - Columbia, KY - Photo courtesy JIM.
This ad for the Corner Grocery, then under the sole proprietorship of George Hancock, appeared in the Adair County News eighty-five years ago this week (November 20, 1935.)

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