Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Southern Shoppin'

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This is my absolutely favoritest store in the whole wide world, Pennington Seed & Supply Co. Located just off the south side of court square, this little place has more of my favorite things than Wally World could ever hope to stock!

I chatted amicably with Mike, the owner, the other day when I was in to get my supply of sunflower and thistle seeds for my birdie friends. In these days of supersized everything and franchise madness, a family owned and operated business such as this one is a delightful treat to encounter. Summer is, of course, their off season. But watch out as fall approaches!

The front part of the store is filled with shelves full of seeds and gardening supplies. There is a piece of beautifully crafted yard furniture here and there, including the famous wooden rockers that my brother got for Christmas last year. Think Cracker Barrrel with more character. The sidewalk in front is lined with the finest trees of the season, and there are always hay bales and tomato stakes out front. In the spring and summer, the trees are ready to plant from rootballs. Flats and flats of annuals brighten up the sidewalk and extend all the way down the alley that runs beside the store. When their pansies show up, I know for sure that spring is right around the corner!

The fall is perhaps their busiest season due to the pecan business. With piles of bright orange pumpkins and oodles of mums out front, the back side of the building opens up off of the alley to receive the bags of pecans that locals harvest from their trees and bring down to sell or get cracked. If you've ever bought pecans, you know that the market is volatile depending on that year's crop. Since the lane to my road is lined with overlapping pecan trees, I've hauled many a burlap sack FULL down to Pennington's for cracking or to make an extra buck. Those guys can take one look at your pecans and grade them according to size and quality. The pecan business is still booming when the Christmas trees arrive to lean against the front of the colorfully painted building.

In between growing seasons, the store is a favorite supplier of all types of animal food ( goats, rabbits, you name it ) and the most gorgeous collection of windchimes and bird feeders you've ever seen. There is an entire wall dedicated to rakes and hoes and other gardening goodies. Cotton gloves, garden clogs and birdbaths are scattered amidst the bins of seed and feed.

Sure....I could get all that stuff at one of the superstores. But the ambience is magnificent downtown, and the owners haul your stuff to the car for a lady. Who could ask for anything more?
pennington's 3
Y'all come back now...ya hear?


Idgie @ the "Dew" said...

Love the older neighborhood stores. I do try to shop at them as much as possible.

On top of supplies, they actually know your name!

A dying breed I'm sad to say.

Jamie Dawn said...

Hi Poopie & friends:
That store sounds charming. You can't beat southern atmosphere and manners. I'd like to pick up one of those bird feeders and a couple of wind chimes.

Michael said...

You mean they actually is somebody there to help you? Answer questions and just talk with you?

maybe this will catch on.

Take Care

Laura said...

They dont have stores like that down in South Florida! they're hard to come by. There's got to be a few up in N. Fla.. gotta be.

dorothy rothschild said...

I remember going to a store like this as a child in Texas. The store's gone now, but if I look at those photos, I can almost remember what it felt like standing in the store and they way things smelled--we used to go to it to by feed for our horses. They also sold saddles and tack. So it was the smell of feed, fertilizer and leather.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

A store much to be admired. Hey everybody in Tennessee: Shop at Pennington's.

Idgie @ the "Dew" said...

Quite funny, I was driving around my area today.......looking for new houses.......and drove by a store very similar to this one. After reading the story, I wanted nothing more than to walk in and smell the feed!

Dana said...

Looks like my kind of store! When I was a kid, mom used to take us to Jack's Truckstop (actually a very good restaurant, or used to be anyway) in Cullman AL. It wasn't just any old truckstop, it had a huge cowboy boot store where they sold anything cowboy/leather. It smelled wonderful in there. I can still smell the memories.