'Pig' owner reflects on family's 68 years in grocery business

September 18, 2003

Dear Editor:

Sixty-eight years ago, my grandfather, George Richardson, opened a grocery store in Danville. Looking for a business opportunity, he traveled Kentucky and southern Ohio. He found a diversified economy and friendly people in Danville. He moved his family from Somerset, and he invested his future in the Boyle County area.

Three generations of Richardsons are thankful for this choice. We are blessed with relationships. Customers, employees, business associates and friends have made "doing business" in the Boyle County area a pleasure.

Piggly Wiggly will close in Danville by Dec. 31. I compare a grocery store to a running horse. The horse needs four strong legs to compete in a race. A grocery store needs location, employees, a bank and a supplier to run its race.


Starting in the credit/delivery business, my grandparents knew most of Boyle County by the sound of their voice. The telephone call and the delivery truck were the modes of "doing business." Today, some of our customers remember Richardsons' Grocery. Some customers might remember Wild West Daze at the Key Market or the Diaper Derby at the IGA. Your child might have been "put in the freezer" at the Pig. Danville is a strong location for business.

We just sent our first bagger/cashier to Harvard. We will not claim credit for his academic achievement, but we have been the first employer of many Danvillians. We are a family business. Our employees of the present and past are our family. Our family of employees has been our strength in "doing business" in the Boyle County area.

The support of a bank in the grocery business is a must for growth and stability. I attended high school and college with my bankers. We value the small town experience when it comes to business. We appreciate the financial support we have received from the banking community in Danville.

A grocery supplier is an accounting company, an advertising company, a marketing company, a pricing company, an electronics company, a dairy supplier, a frozen food supplier, a deli supplier, a meat supplier, a produce supplier, a health and beauty product supplier, a drug supplier, an equipment supplier and a "grocery" supplier. We did business with one grocery supplier from the late fifties until the late eighties. The Creasey Company in Louisville played a major role in growing our business during those years. We were running on four "strong legs."

Two and a half years ago, our grocery supplier experienced financial difficulties and closed. Another grocery supplier bought their business. During this transition from one wholesaler to another, our order efficiency averaged 70 percent. This transition phase lasted six to eight months. This past April, our new wholesaler filed for bankruptcy. We have experienced supply problems since that date. We find ourselves running a race with a broken leg.

My grandfather worked for the railroad when he received an inheritance. While he traveled, he analyzed his present position, his short-term future and his long-term future. He moved to Danville and opened Richardsons' Grocery.

We used his model of decision-making when choosing to pursue opportunities outside of the grocery arena. There is sadness that comes from emotional attachment. There is excitement that comes from change. Most of all there is gratitude to all we have known during our tenure in the grocery business in the central Kentucky area.

Preston Richardson

"Mr. Pig"


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