Newaygo Plumb’s- A Requiem
By Ken DeLaat
Sunday morning at 9 am we decided to take a trip to Plumb’s since it was to be their final day as Newaygo’s primary grocer.
And it was closed.
A couple of men stopped and one knocked on the door but there was no answer and the bundles of newspapers sitting outside the entrance seemed to be an indication that the one-time 24 hour store was not open for business as of yet.
Whether it would open for the day at some point was...
...unknown since no sign pointed toward anything other than the assertion that the store would be closing its doors for good at 8pm.
I don’t know how long Plumb’s has been in Newaygo. We moved here close to 20 years ago and I recall coming through town years before when they were located across the street. I know that when we moved up here my Lifetime Spousal Companion (LSC) Lil would tell people that within weeks I would be as well known there as Norm was on Cheers due to my propensity to visit grocery stores on a nearly daily basis.
I’ve e always been an aficionado of such outlets of foodery. When my kids were younger we once received a gigantic poinsettia delivered personally by the store director of the local D&W for being one of their top five customers.
Of the entire store.
I brought it into the house and showed Lil who gave it a glance and said “So how much you figure that cost us, about 6-7 grand?” (this was the early 1990’s).
“Probably more, I’d guess,” was the reply with the colossal poinsettia in hand. “Nice plant though don’t you think?”
Like I've often said, a very patient woman.
At any rate my familiarity with this type of establishment is grounded in decades of experience in being the primary food shopper of the family. I even shopped for my parents when they were in their less mobile years. As someone who does whatever he can to avoid any other type of shopping it’s a bit of an anomaly to be so drawn to these venues but I believe it probably gives me a perspective on what makes a quality store.
I don’t know what happened with Plumb’s. There is plenty of speculation on social media, a venue which generally possesses a level of accuracy even lower than what we saw in this year’s presidential polls, but the story perhaps has many facets.
I only know that I was a frequent flyer at first, then after a series of disappointments I began making a point to begin visit other places such as Gene’s and Bill’s and then Meijer opened in Cedar Springs and I would hit it when in the neighborhood.
Oh, I’d still stop in Plumb’s fairly regularly but for some reason they seemed to often stop carrying items I liked and when I registered my desire to have them make a return to the shelves these requests, while cheerfully taken in, went unheeded.
100% of the time, mind you.
So then it was down to quick visits when out of something and eventually my stopovers there dwindled to nothing.
It makes me wonder how many others experienced a gradual migration away from shopping there.
At any rate, should they open at some point later today it will be just a few hours before the doors finally close and lock at 8pm.
From their conversation the two guys talking outside the entrance didn’t know it was closing and were taken by surprise.
Personally I wasn’t surprised since rumors that are totally baseless run their course and fade away and this one never did since the evidence of rapidly petering out products gave the gossip some credibility.
So no, I did not feel the least bit shocked by their demise.
Just kind of sad.
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