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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Ten Reasons Buck's Red Fox was the Greatest


Nothing said Wapella like Buck and Dorothy Johnson's Grocery Store. Yes, the Troxell Brothers had their charms, Howard Abraham was a legend, and John Blakeman ran a good operation, but Buck and Dorothy defined Wapella with their inviting personalities, and sharp business. Here are ten good reasons why Buck's was the greatest.


10) The Topmost Brand. Symbol of quality, and great taste. Almost exclusively sold in Wapella.

9) Strategic placement of cigarettes. The smoking employees reminded everyone to pick up a pack of smokes for the road.

8) Full magazine selection. Some rare and exotic titles for a small town.

7) Butcher shop on site. Bring Bessie in for a visit, leave with T-Bones for dinner.

6) Early implementation of Dig-Dug, my favorite video game

5) Frosty brand Root Beer. Can't taste the Sasparillo for the Sugar.

4) Charge Accounts. The economics were shaky, but the convenience was awesome

3) Buck was still selling old Coke after new Coke was introduced. Visitors came from miles to get their Cola fix.

2) One of the only stores you could buy Wildroot Hair Tonic. High volume sales to Hog City Gentlemen

1) Buck and Dorothy Johnson: a legendary Grocery Team.


Got any more?

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

How about the Butch's pizza? Buck made Butch's a household name.

EEP said...

1. At lunchtime, Buck's had pizza by the slice as well as sandwiches made to order. Awesome.

2. Good magazines is right. Not only could an underage youth peruse a Playboy (if Denise Shan/Johnson, or whoever was cashier that day, didn't bust you) but they also carried Fangoria, a horror aficionado's dream magazine, and other titles that have long since folded.

3. Did anyone ever really venture west of the check-out counter? I don't think I ever made it farther west than the video game area, which was to your immediate right when you came in...

dj said...

I spent every summer of my youth (mid '70's- early 80's) working for my dad at R-J, Inc. John Deere store.. I used to go there nearly everyday and get a slice of ham, slice of co-jack cheese and a squirt of mustard all slapped together on wonder bread for $2.00! I can also picture the Norman Rockwell behind the meat counter.. with the old ladies finger under the scale and the clerks finger pushing down on the scale.. Fond Wapella memories..

Anonymous said...

Didn't it start out as a "Superway" and become the jewel in the Red Fox empire's crown? Did Red Fox have to give up draft choices and/or pay big bucks to get "The Gov'nor" and Dorothy in the fold?

Liked the periodicals.

BEP

Anonymous said...

My family purchased all of our meat and prok products directly from the Union Stockyards in Chicago. I must say, I never have tasted a better BACON than what Bucks offered.

Anonymous said...

And who really cared paying $4.00 for a 4 pack of toilet paper? When you ran out, you were glad to have Buck's Red Fox just up the street.

EEP said...

Mon pere claims that he never gets steaks that were as good as the ones Buck sold. Even at good steakhouses throughout the states, after every one, he'll mutter to himself that Buck's were better.

jen1991 said...

When WHS still had open campus, I used to walk up with my friends and get a sandwich for little cost. It was always fabulous, and Buck was quick on his feet. The pizza was awesome as well.

I also remember being able to go in and asking for a pack of smokes for my aunt, and they would actually give them to me. Yes, they really were for my aunt. LOL

What exactly was west of the checkout counter?

Anonymous said...

I liked the fact they defied any blue laws and were open on Sunday morning. As my $0.25 weekly allowance was distributed that day, I would typically head from church to Buck's to spend $0.21 on a pack of Topps baseball cards. I think they had it all.

HoosierGato

Anonymous said...

Alas, the passing of the Buck's Red Fox's of the world is one on many indications that American society is in the toilet. Not only are the small town/neighborhood grocers gone, and I LOVE Publix, but so is a way of life. Who lets their kids leave the house at 8 in the AM and come home for dinner? Will the kids even leave the house? What happened to all-day whiffle ball games, swimming in the creek (no on ever got Ebola) and walking beans? I was fortunate to live in middle America when I did.

Of course, only Kenney was wet on Sundays, in the day.

Nostalically, BEP

Mr Toohill Beef said...

the first time I drove a tractor home from swampy, the farm we had south of clinton, my dad specifically told me not go through wapella. well i did, stopped at Bucks charged a pop. 10 minutes later my dad and brother stopped and did the same. Thats when i got busted by Buck.

jen1991 you were employeed there at one time correct?

EEP said...

BEP - I was waxing similarly nostalgic about the disappearance of the neighborhood restaurants (like Schooners) of the world with brother-in-law Mark C. just the other day. Both of us depressed you cannot go just anywhere to get a tenderloin the size of a trash can lid.

Anonymous said...

You have surfaced memories of great regret on my part. I always was interested in the bad credit report as a youngster as I wasn't quite grasping the concept. I can't remember the names but a wildcat classmate or 2 were on the list. I regret not clearing their good names as their debt was something like a couple quarters. I feel like one may have been the famous stage jumper Donald Dipple. Shame on me.

Buck & Dot were the greatest - I'd like to hear a recap of some of their workers - Schans, Roger Dial's wife (Linda?) --- give me more???

I recall fondly eating a steak at my parents house with my friend from Joliet and Buck was at the table with a splash of whiskey discussing the meat that he had cut and that we were eating. Joliet man had never eaten with the butcher before and was very impressed with the conversation.

& also a final shout to my personal favorite butcher - Mr. Richard Burk - talked to him on Sunday.

jen1991 said...

No, I was not employed at Buck's :)

Anonymous said...

Browsing Buck's assortment of nail polish, nail polish remover, and lip balm (to the left of the counter as you went in) was always a favorite past time of mine. As was racing uptown to be the first in line at Buck's counter to get my daily bologna and cheese sandwich.

Anonymous said...

Lori (Westfall) Feather was a regular weekend and summer employee at Buck's. She wore her red smock proudly.

EEP said...

Wasn't Copenbarger's Mom a regular employee? Both Denise and Shelia Shan...Kelly Westfall....

Anonymous said...

To name a few occasional employees..

Tom Harris, Tim Whitlock, Bob Mesnark, Nancy Dial, Judy Pine, Brian Schanafelt.

all served with pride.

jen1991 said...

Yes, Copenbarger's mom was employed at Buck's as well.

Ah, the good ol' days...

jen1991 said...

Now that I think of it, I think that was the last time I was able to buy Bazooka bubble gum for 5 cents.

I would spend the night with my grandma and rush up to Buck's on Saturday mornings so I could buy my $2.00 worth of candy, which was quite a bit back in the day.

Anonymous said...

Kelly Westfall Murphy was employed until the day Buck closed the doors. Dorothy let her keep the red jacket. It kind of brings a tear to your eye.

jen1991 said...

Missy also worked there on occasion

Anonymous said...

I believe Wayne "Buck" Johnson was the only citizen of Wapella who regularly addressed patrons as "Governor." Can anyone verify this speculation?

HoosierGato

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