Villisca Remembering the Town and Country Grocery

Dave Higgins remembrances of his teen age part time job in Villisca Iowa in the 1950's.
Location of Villisca
Location of Villisca
By D.L. Higgins

I was 15 years old in 1957 and one of the town kids who was lucky enough to have a job to put a little money in my pocket. Many of us in town worked at local gas stations, mowed yards or kept our eyes open for any chance to earn a "buck". The big money was in the farm work if you happened to get a job haying, detassling corn or weeding beans. I had the opportunity to work for Ed and Tillie Weiner in their Villisca Fruit and Grocery store located on the NW corner of 3rd Avenue and 6th Street. I enhanced my understandings about responsibility, reliability and courtesy while working there. Those attributes served me well in later life.

There were several others who worked there, those that I recall were, Mildred Hefflefinger, Irma Patterson, Walt Webster, and Howard Miller. They were the full time people that were raising families and meeting the other responsibilities that grown ups do. There were two other "bag boys" working there at the same time, Judd Nordyke and Richard Phillis.

Believe it or not one of the key elements of the Weiner grocery business was home delivery of groceries that were phoned into the store by the many customers in Villisca. Tillie or one of the other ladies would receive the orders

The biggest day of the week was probably Saturday and the store was closed on Sundays, typical for those times. Many of us remember the by-gone days of Villisca's larger population, 11 man football and girls basketball that had 6 players! I think the Villisca Welcome sign used to read "Home of 2002 Friendly People". For me it brings back fond memories of my teen age years and growing up in a town like Villisca.

The population on Saturday night increased considerably with the weekly trip to town for goods and groceries, an evening meal and perhaps a picture show at the Rialto. Parking was at a premium with spaces on the South and West side of the city square being filled quickly. Bumper to bumper activity up and down 3rd Avenue was not uncommon.

Ed and Tillie were gracious hosts to their customers, always courteous and friendly. Ed always managed to be around the front door to welcome folks to his store and Tillie was diligent at the book keeping and the efficient running of the store. I don't think a stranger ever walked in their store, everyone always received a greeting. Dik and Howard, their two sons, were always helping in any way they could.

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