Even though it was geographically close to my home, it was like going to a new world!
I remember more than the candy and soda. I recall the back room with a pool table and a jukebox, both of which greedily consumed my pocket change. Lucky for me, the storeowner often would find a way to “make it even” and give me an extra sweet.
Sid’s isn’t there anymore. Where it once stood is the front yard for a home that was built on the property once the store was torn down. I still miss it. Perhaps that is why in my journeys when I come across a country store I am drawn to it like a magnet to steel.
Throughout my travels I have found a few country stores that stick out in my mind.
First up is Granny’s Market and Grill, located off Hwy. 21 in Lesterville. Granted, there’s not a jukebox or pool table, but this is one of my favorite spots to hit when in that area. They grind their own beef for some fabulous burgers and have an amazing deli selection. Did I mention the affordable prices?
Granny’s Market is incredibly welcoming. As a stranger clearly NOT from Lesterville, I don’t feel that “gaze” or stare when I walk in. Even the customers want to chat. Just this fall, when my daughter and I were there, we ended up included in a conversation about a man’s new grandson. It simply feels like “home” to me.
Granny’s also is a great place to grab a made-to-order deli sandwich to go for a picnic at the area attractions. Within a short drive are gems such as Johnson’s Shut Ins, the Black River, Sutton’s Bluff, Marble Creek, Taum Sauk Mountain, and more.
Another store that I love is the Pierpont Store on South Highway 163 in Columbia. It is near one of my favorite places in the state: Rock Bridge State Park.