Food For Thought

There’s been a lot of talk in town lately, about new grocery stores ready to make their mark in the Sanford area. So we decided to take a look back at some notable stores that blazed the trail over the decades, and even centuries.  Do you remember O’Connell’s Supermarket in downtown Jonesboro? It closed in 2014 after roughly a century of service. In the picture to the top left, we see what the inside of the store looked like in 1935, with Mr. Floyd O’Connell himself behind the counter.

The Lloyd family owned and operated the Jonesboro Grocery Company. W.F. Lloyd was the proprietor and his sons Jack and Joe operated the store after their father’s death. Here’s a picture of all 3 from the 1930s.

Around the same time in Sanford, the Wicker Cash Grocery was located for a time, here on McIver Street. Operated by Gunter Wicker, it served as an ideal spot for students from nearby McIver School to drop by, when they needed supplies or snacks. Veteran’s Cabs shared the building for many years.

Does this spot look familiar? Until the mid-70s, it was the home of Fields Fish, Oyster and Ice Company, owned by former Sanford Mayor E.W. Fields.  Today 2600 South Horner Boulevard is the location of the Sonic Drive-In.

In the 1930s, the new trend in grocery stores was “self-service.” The first self-service store in the Progressive Super Market chain is on the left front corner in this 1940s view from Wicker Street. In its heyday, Progressive operated from several locations around Sanford. It truly was a “progressive” operation for its time.  We’ll have to share more stories about them another time.

Finally, this is the store that helped put Sanford on the map.  The McIver Store, here at the corner of Chatham & McIver was founded in 1873. This picture is from 1883, when it was considered “the largest general store in Moore County. (Remember, Lee County wasn’t created until 1907). Can you imagine traveling by horse or buggy through the country and arriving at such a large store? This building was torn down in 1932.

Editorial content, pictures and research background, compliments of Jimmy Haire and Images of America: Sanford and Lee County, by Jimmy Haire & W.W. Seymour, Jr, available here for purchase.