AUSTINVILLE — Once regular customers share stories about Stone’s Grocery and its deep ties to the community, you understand why Customer Appreciation Day on Dec. 31 was held in conjunction with the announcement of former owners Chris and Anglia Dalton’s retirement.
The couple took over the firm from Clifton and Nadine Stone (Anglia’s mother and father) in 1987. Chris come to work at the grocery in 1971. According to the Daltons, the firm has continued to fill a niche since its founding with a variety of goods and services for the convenience of those in nearby rural areas. Auto parts have been included in the store’s inventory with Chris Dalton originally in charge of hardware and the meat departments.
“This store was built by Clifton and Nadine’s brother-in-law, Ray and Marie Rotenizer in 1961,” said Anglia Dalton.
She indicated from its beginning the grocery has offered generous doses of friendly customer service complimenting location and inventory for local shoppers. Many of Thursday’s participants attested to the store going the extra mile for patrons so they didn’t literally have to go many extra miles.
Anglia’s sister, Pat Dalton, worked at the grocery before moving into the medical field, and Brad Dalton regularly helped out while he was in high school and college before he went on to become a judge. Shannon and Bradley Dalton were also present to help serve various savory and sweet treats to those stopping by to share and sign a registry book in the packed store.
The new owners of the store are Steve and Kathy Rutherford with their daughter, Carrie. The trio took the reins on the first day of the new year. Anglia Dalton said long-time employees Missy Stacy, Gary Frazier and Brandon Myers plan on staying on at the grocery.
“We appreciate the loyalty and friendship of our customers through the years,” Anglia Dalton said. “That’s what has kept us going. We’ve really enjoyed it.”
Two small children in the grocery’s hardware department served as a sign the store’s low-key family atmosphere is in no danger. They were Will and Bradley, the sons of Shannon and Brad Dalton. According to the boys, they were using various items from the shelves to build a “giant space station” and a “deep sea submarine.”
Carroll County School Board Member Olen Gallimore took a few moments to deliver an impromptu speech about the local business in addition to customers filling the store, exchanging hugs and sharing pictures and stories about the grocery.
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 and on Twitter@CarrollNewsDave.