Last year I was hosting a family gathering and needed simple appetizer to serve with the Bloody Marys. I decided on cheese straws–Southern morsels made of butter, flour, sharp cheddar and cayenne. I had never made them before, mostly because I hate touching flour, but I had a cousin’s recipe and charged ahead.
The first batch of dough wasn’t right…too thick. Off I went to the nearby grocery store–about 3 minutes away by car. I mixed up the next batch with newly purchased ingredients, and it wasn’t right either. Bottom line is I made four trips to the store before I got the cheese straws just right.
Evidently, my ineptitude at baking wasn’t enough to keep the store in business.
That homemade sign tells you a lot about the store. It was a Food Lion, the only one in town. In an area dominated by Publix, Krogers, Harris Teeter and Whole Foods, Food Lion was decidedly down market.
In 1992, Food Lion was flying high–a darling of Wall Street for it low prices. Then ABC aired a news magazine segment alleging, among other things, that employees bleached outdated chicken and fish to remove odor and then restocked it and that rat bites were trimmed off of cheese. In 1997 a federal court ruled that ABC was guilty of fraud and ordered the network to pay $5 million in punitive damages.
It was too late though, and the damage to the chain’s reputation was irreversible.
However, ABC alone can’t be blamed for Food Lion’s failure in Franklin. It just wasn’t a nice place to shop.
It was fine for the basics, especially if you just wanted to run in 0n your way home from work. But if you wanted any cheese more exotic than pepper jack or a loaf of bread that wasn’t white or wheat, you were out of luck.
It was the kind of place where you bought a six-pack, some Skoal and a handful of Slim Jims. Not wild Alaskan salmon, organic blueberries and free-range eggs.
I went in a couple of times after the closing was announced and the empty shelves were a reminder that this closing would be a a devastating blow to the employees, many of whom had obvious handicaps that will make finding another job difficult.
So now there’s a big, empty building in need of a tenant. Personally, I hope a huge liquor store moves in. Husband is hoping for auto parts.