Like many small stores across the country, Thriftway Foods was struggling to compete with giant retailers and its future in the Appalachian region seemed bleak. But the residents of Troutville, Va., had no intention of losing the landmark, fourth-generation business.
Community members, businesses and churches in 2016 rallied together to donate time, labor and money to save the 82-year-old store. The effort involved area handymen, painters, local artists, craftsmen, an IT specialist, graphics designer, business consultant and interior designer.
The transition, which included a name change to Troutville Grocery & Goods, continues in 2017 to enhance the shopping experience of customers and provide unique products and services.
The entire town is undergoing a remarkable transformation under the guidance of the Thriftway Revitalization Project and the many volunteers who have stepped up.
TG&G opened in 1935 as Painter's Market and was operated by owner Bland A. Painter. At the time it was the town's only grocery and general store. The name of the business later changed to Thriftway Foods. Bland A. Painter Jr. ran the store for half a century. His daughter, Page Painter Weddle, began working there in 1978 and managed the store after her father passed away. Page's daughter, Megan Weddle, now helps operate the business and sells photography and handmade goods on-site.
The store has been a long-time stop for many Appalachian Trail hikers, as well as bicycle riders from the Transcontinental Bike America Trail.
Lindy Whitlock, a business strategist who helped TG&G with its transition, said the small business has an advantage over the bigger stores.
“The differentiation that (TG&G) brings to market is its desire to know its community and to support other local and small businesses. We hope to expand their focus on local and integrate other small businesses into their product line within the coming year,” she said.
Whitlock lives and works in Washington, D.C., but grew up in Troutville. She shared her special connection to the grocery store.
“When I was a child, my father was a volunteer fireman. When he had to run fire calls he would drop me off at the grocery store and the owners would watch me for hours so he could go and save someone,” she said.
After hearing Whitlock's amazing story and learning about the town's efforts to save the store, TotallyPromotional.com decided to donate bags for TG&G's Transformation Celebration Event during Small Business Saturday in November 2016. The event was well attended, Whitlock said.
“Our grand reopening day was a huge success thanks to the support and wonderful donations of both our community and wonderful companies like TotallyPromotional.com,” she said. “Working with your team was a breeze, you met all of our deadlines and your products are of wonderful quality. You are hands-down our go-to place for future promotional needs.”
TotallyPromotional.com wishes the entire Troutville community much success in their revitalization mission!