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Community Cornerstone: Small town's only grocery store will soon close without a buyer

Community Cornerstone: Small town's only grocery store will soon close without a buyer

February 4th, 2019 by Jim Williamson in Texarkana Region

Perry Young, owner of Young's Grocery Store in Foreman, Ark., sacks groceries. Medical problems are causing Young to retire and if he doesn't find a buyer for the business, the town's only grocery store will soon close. Young said if that happens, Foreman residents will have to make a 40-mile round trip to get groceries.

Photo by Jim Williamson /Texarkana Gazette.

An area town's only grocery store will soon close if the owner fails to sell the business that's been in his family for more than 70 years.

Owner Perry Young said if the store that's served Foreman, Ark., since the late 1940s closes, people may have to go to Ashdown, Ark., or New Boston, Texas for groceries—a 40-mile round trip.

"Elderly ladies can't hop into a car and drive to New Boston or Ashdown. Foreman has a Dollar Store, but you can't get a rib-eye steak and tomatoes for supper," Young said.

The possible closure is part of a regional trend. Horatio, Ark., Mineral Springs, Ark., and Tom, Okla., no longer have grocery stores, he said.

Young, a 73-year-old Vietnam War veteran, said his father, Hap Young, opened the grocery store in 1948.

"My dad walked me to school and told me he would teach me how to work. Parents don't teach children how to work anymore. Now they think working is child abuse. My dad stacked Coke boxes up so I could stand on the boxes and reach up and sack groceries," he said.

Medical problems have created the need to sell the grocery store.

"I'm being forced out by my doctor. I don't want to get out, but medical problems with the veins in my legs are causing the problems. The doctor said if I don't get off the concrete, the doctors might have to amputate my legs," Young said.

"I don't want that. I have a 7-year-old grandchild and a 9-year-old grandchild. I love to play with the grandchildren. They're the highlight of my day.

"Some of the buyers ask for everything, building and equipment, but don't want to pay for it."

Little River County Judge Mike Cranford cited the importance of the store to the community.

"Young's Grocery has been a cornerstone of the Foreman community for over 70 years. They have provided quality products and service with a smile to multiple generations of families. Not only will they be missed for supplying groceries to their customers, but also for the jobs they provided to hundreds of people," he said.

"Small town's such as ours rely heavily on every retailer we have. The news that they planned to retire is something we have known in the back of our minds was coming, but are now having to come to terms with it."

Former Foreman Mayor Judy Adams said "Young's Grocery is the only full-time grocery store I can remember.

"Perry had operated the store for 66 years after the death of his father, Mr. Hap Young. I worked in the store during high school years along with many, many other students since the store opened."

Young keeps a list of employees and said the store has employed 543 people since opening in 1948.

"Perry is the No. 1 supporter of Foreman," Adams said. "He is generous and assists with all activities for the city or the schools. He truly cares about Foreman. We will all miss Perry and the store. We wish him well in his retirement. But we will all really miss his store if it closes. We are hopeful someone will come along that will buy it and keep it going. Foreman won't be the same without Young's Grocery Store."

only grocery store in town, and if Perry Young fails to sell it, it will be the last one.

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