They kept their store a neighborhood treasure

YOU HAVE TO BE of a certain age to remember Mom and Pop grocery stores.

In days long gone, just about every community had at least one or more than one corner grocery store owned by someone local – who often lived above the store – who knew everybody in the neighborhood and provided personalized, friendly service.

Those days are long gone and today most groceries today are purchased in giant box stores that are part of large regional or national chains and sell everything from produce to plumbing fixtures.

But while there may no longer be grocery stores on every corner or in every neighborhood, there are still a few locally-owned, locally operated grocery stores that, even if they are part of a larger chain, are still community-oriented.

For the past two decades, Plymouth has been fortunate to call one of those stores its own – Jim and Kevin’s Plymouth Piggly Wiggly.

Partners Jim Wieser and Kevin Mey bought the store 20 years ago, at a time when the migration of other grocery stores to the eastern edge of the city was well underway, when the big box stores hadn’t arrived and there were no more grocery stores left in downtown Plymouth.

Jim and Kevin kept their store on Eastern Avenue, almost midway between downtown Plymouth and the growing commercial zone on the city’s eastern edge, closer to many of the city’s neighborhoods than any of their competitors.

For the next 20 years, Jim and Kevin were far from faceless absentee or corporate owners. They were in their store, day in and day out, making sure that their friends and neighbors got the service and products they wanted and needed. When there were questions, concerns or just a request for a specific product or item, customers knew they could go straight to the top and ask the owners at Jim and Kevin’s Piggly Wiggly.

They lent their support and their facilities to a wide variety of local groups and organizations, from fundraisers to collection efforts to the nearly weekly brat frys in their parking lot.

There is probably no group or organization in the Plymouth area that hasn’t benefitted from Jim and Kevin’s generosity and resources over these past 20 years.

That community spirit helped Plymouth grow and prosper, and the support Plymouth returned helped the store to grow and prosper as well, with several remodelings and expansions over the years.

Now the partners are ready to move on and have sold their store to Bob Fox of Two Rivers, who owns Piggly Wiggly stores there and in Manitowoc. It will be good to see the Plymouth store remain in local hands – Fox started his grocery career as a bagger in a Sheboygan Piggly Wiggly store – and we can only hope that the new ownership will continue the spirit of community and neighborliness that Jim and Kevin personified for 20 years.

As for Jim and Kevin, thanks for keeping the spirit of the mom and pop grocery store alive in Plymouth – and best of luck in your retirement and future endeavors.

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