Grocery Store to Return to Millville - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Grocery Store to Return to Millville

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Obstacles are thrown at Port St. Joe resident John Reeves every day, but he maintains his vision for a new grocery store in Millville. A vision that he hopes will return the luster to shopping for groceries.

Fulfilling the American dream has been harder than anticipated for Reeves as he struggles to open the Piggly Wiggly.  

With no willing bankers to invest in his new business he was forced to delve into personal investments, but still he persists.

"It's been a work in progress over the last four years trying to put all the pieces of the puzzle together," said Reeves, who is a third generation grocer.

Growing up in his dad's grocery store he first thought of buying the Millville property came more than four years ago.

But not just for himself, for the people of Millville.

"But the people in Millville, gosh, I mean it's just been awesome," said Reeves. "They want their grocery store back."

Reeves says his mission is a simple one; to restore not only this building, but the experience shoppers have when they visit it.

"People that grew up in the 50's and 60's and they remember going to a neighborhood grocery store their groceries got bagged, they got taken out of the car, the employees of the store knew them by name, and greeted them," said Reeves. "Instead of saying it's over on aisle four they took them over to aisle four and showed them where it was at.

"That's the way this store is going to be."

With the help of the Community Redevelopment Agency, Reeves will get a chance to offer that opportunity.

"Every time I'm here people will stop and they'll ask 'When's the store opening? When's the store opening?'" said Tim Whaler from the CRA. "So, from just the people passing by, and from the Millville Community Alliance input, everyone is excited about it."

"It's very encouraging to see the excitement in them," said Reeves. "And it pumps me up and makes me want to work harder to get it open sooner."  

But sooner doesn't necessarily mean better for Reeves who says there is a lot of work to be done. Namely ripping out the entire ceiling of the building.

"We've got one opportunity to do this right," said Reeves. "And while I want it open quick and the neighbors want it open quick, I've got one opportunity to make a good impression on these people."

So, the doors will remain open, but only so work can continue until the long awaited day Piggly Wiggly will open it's doors for business.

"It's going to be awesome," said Reeves. "I can't wait."  

A date for opening is still tentative for the store, but Reeves says he hopes by this time next week he should have the ceiling done and by June the new roof will be on.