Grocery Life May 22, 2014

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boy or girl signs

 

Grocery Life

May 22, 2014

By Tom Butler

              

Good morning from Butler and Bailey Market. I guess school is out for most everyone by now, so maybe some of you get to sleep in this morning. If your kids are like mine, they will probably be bored by lunchtime. I guess that is why swim teams and summer camps are so popular.

In my last blog I wrote about frying okra. Several of you asked me about fried green tomatoes. I do them exactly

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fried green tomatoes 2the same way I do the okra. Once they are fried, I put them on a bed of leafy greens, usually spring mix, and then add goat cheese crumbles. I like to use smaller tomatoes because the smaller slices work better on a salad. We always keep a good supply of Grainger County green tomatoes if you want to give this a try.

We had our first ever request for a “reveal” cake this week at the store. This is a growing trend with expecting parents. Some of you may have seen Abby Ham cut into her reveal cake on her news cast. Instead of expecting parents finding out the sex of their child and announcing it, they plan a reveal party with friends and family and have a cake made with the inside being either pink or blue. When the cake is cut, the color is revealed and everyone finds out the sex at the same time by surprise. In this circumstance, these parents want to find out at the party with everyone else so they had the doctor write down the sex and put it in a sealed envelope. Then they brought me the envelope so I am the only person that knows the sex. What a heavy burden for a grocery man. Now Nancy in our bakery department knows because she had to bake and decorate the cake yesterday, and the parents will know soon because the party is tonight. I will let you know in

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baby reveal cakethe next blog. My wife and I chose not to find out with our two children, which is pretty unusual these days. My mother always told me that the birth of a child is one of God’s miracles so we just let Him do His thing and found out when they came into the world. It is an exciting time regardless of when everyone finds out.

This weekend should be very busy at the store since it is Memorial Day weekend. We also have a new two week ad starting Sunday. We will be running the smokers all weekend with ribs, Boston butts, pork tenderloin, chicken, and salmon. The bakery/deli will have homemade strawberry shortcake, peanut butter pies, and chicken salad featured this weekend. Melon season is in full swing so cantaloupes and watermelons are really good right now. Mike, who oversees our dairy department, recommended I try our new Sargento Tastings cheese. He really likes them. We have four varieties so I am going to try all four this weekend. You may want to also. If you have not tried our pork and beef from Southern Natural foods, this weekend may be a good time to do so. They are a Tennessee company that produces all natural beef and pork on Tennessee farms. Ashley, our meat manager, has done quite a bit of consulting with them visiting their farms and processing facilities and is very impressed with their operation. These guys are producing a great product, doing it the right way, and they are local and we love local. I hope everyone has a safe and fun weekend!

 

Thanks for letting us be a part of your community,

Tom Butler

Grocery Life May 19, 2014

Grocery Life May 19, 2014

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rocky hill old pic 2 

By Tom Butler

Good afternoon from Butler & Bailey Market,

I hope everyone had a good weekend. My family’s was busy as usual. Probably the most entertaining thing this weekend at our house was tree cutting. My neighbor and I have ended up with an ivy covered pine tree thicket on our shared property line. We hired some guys to cut them down and I enjoyed watching them climb the trees to tie them off or limb them. I also like watching those guys make a tree fall exactly where they want it to. Both of those tasks take special skills. I thought my children would enjoy watching, but realized I was wrong when the first tree fell. My ten year old daughter immediately told my wife and me that we just killed a polar bear and that if we cut the rest of the trees it would kill all the polar bears. My seven year old son then chimed in to tell us that if we leave a room without turning out the lights it will ruin the earth. The only thing I will say to that is I guess they are learning something in school? Maybe they should turn off all their electronics, sew their own clothes, and walk to school if they are so concerned. I appreciate them being taught how to be better stewards of the earth but all things in moderation.

We are starting the second week of our two week ad. If you have not seen it you can find it on our website. Also be looking for our June cooking class schedule. We will probably have it out in the next few days and you will find this on our website.

One of the more popular ad items has been blueberries. They have become very popular in the past few years, probably due to their positive health benefits. I eat blueberries everyday in the form of a kale shake. This is what I have for breakfast every morning. I am not going to tell you they are great but for someone who has never had enough fruits and vegetables in his diet, it is just the thing. My recipe varies based on what we have at the house. In general terms it is one part fruit (1 cup), one part milk (skim or almond), two parts fresh chopped kale or spinach, and one raw egg (pasteurized). I started adding the egg for protein. It also seems to make it more filling so I don’t get hungry before lunch. For fruit I use all kinds of berries, bananas, peaches, mangos, and even clementines. I use fresh and frozen. I always use some frozen to make the shake thicker. I put all the ingredients in my Nutri-bullet blender, blend for a few seconds and I am done. Kale greens are considered a “super food” and we sell a lot. If the shake doesn’t interest you, our deli makes a kale super salad that is very popular and the produce department sells four or five varieties of kale salad kits.

To counteract all this healthy stuff, we are having fried okra for supper tonight. Everyone in our family can eat their weight in fried okra. I even make it for my son’s afternoon snack sometimes, he likes it so much. All I do is rinse fresh okra and slice it crossways no thicker than 1/4”. I then get a gallon Ziploc bag and put cornmeal in it along with salt and pepper. Amounts vary based on how much you are cooking. I would guess I use a cup or two of cornmeal and maybe a teaspoon each of salt and pepper. I then put the sliced okra in the bag a little at a time and shake it to coat the okra with the cornmeal until I have coated all of it. The okra will be sticky so the meal should coat it. Some people use a heavy batter but we like it better with a thin coat. I then put about a quarter inch of oil in a skillet on medium to medium high heat. Once it’s hot, I slowly drop the okra in from the meal bag. I cook it until it lightly browned (probably about 10 minutes) stirring occasionally. This is one of the few things my kids get excited about eating and it is a “green” vegetable. Fresh okra quality is kind of hit or miss until the local comes in, but we did get some nice okra in this morning so give it a try.

The picture you see at the beginning of this blog was taken before the shopping center was built. The buildings you see are right where we sit now. I went up on the

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Rocky hill new pichill this morning and took an updated picture which you see here. Notice how many more trees we have now compared to then. I can’t wait to get home to show my daughter. Have a great day!

 

Thanks for letting us be a part of your community,

Tom Butler

Grocery Life May 15, 2014

Grocery Life May 15, 2014

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Lauren is excited about the school year ending soon. Lauren is excited about the school year ending soon.

By Tom Butler

Good afternoon from Butler & Bailey Market,

It looks like we are going from two weeks in the high 80’s to the high 60’s for the next few days. Spring is back. You can always tell when the Butlers have something planned because the weather changes dramatically. This Sunday, my wife has a pool party planned for her mother/daughter book club. It looks like it may be a little cool to be swimming and they may have to resort to plan B. Right now plan B is to worry enough about the weather that it actually changes the weather. We will see how that works out?

My wife and I both love to read and she thought starting a mother/daughter book club would be a good way to introduce our daughter to the joy of reading. It must be working because often times she will ask if she can stay up a little late because she wants to find out “what happens” in the book she is reading.

The last book I read is called

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Paperboy.” The author of the book is Vince Vawter who lives here in Knoxville and Paperboy bookgoes to our church. I have known Vince for several years but did not know he had written a book until my wife told me. She read it and is planning to use it for her book club. Another thing I did not know about Vince is he has struggled with stuttering his whole life. In Paperboy, Vince writes about a boy with a stuttering problem trying to run his friend’s paper route for the summer. It is a semi-autobiographical look at what he went through growing up with a speech impediment in the 1950’s. Through his character and the other characters in the book, it really opened my eyes to how a speech impediment affects every part of one’s life. I really admire Vince, one for writing a book and two for writing about such a personal issue that helps us all to understand it better. He is an advocate and gives a voice to those with speech impediments. I looked on amazon.com and the book has received several awards including the Newberry Honor. If you get a chance to read it, I think you will enjoy it. Plus he is a local guy, and we are all about supporting local people and local businesses.

The store has been running smoothly this week. We do have a mysterious roof leak though. It leaks when it rains, and it leaks when it’s sunny. It has baffled the roofers, but I am sure they will get it figured out.

Last night we had our bacon wrapped fillet burgers at home. They have become one of the new favorite things at our house. The meat department grinds their beef tenderloin trimmings, forms the patties, and wraps them with bacon. What you end up with is essentially a fillet mignon burger. I just grill them and we eat them like a steak instead of with a bun.

The fresh corn on the cob has been really good lately. It is on sale this week three ears for one dollar. I think the produce department employees fear a corn sale. They end up shucking thousands of ears a week trying to keep up and when they get behind, we all end up shucking corn. We sell some in the husk, but most people want it shucked.

Tonight we are going to have fish tacos. We have baseball practice, and this is a quick and easy meal to make when we get home. I get tilapia fillets and sauté them in a skillet with olive oil and Greek seasoning. The other ingredients we use are lettuce, already shredded in the bag, shredded cheese, fresh pico de gallo, regular or southwest flavor, already made and packaged in the produce department, and flour tortillas, which we lightly brown on the stovetop or in the oven. The whole meal takes about 10-15 minutes to prepare. If you need a quick and easy meal solution that is healthy, give this one a try. I hope everyone is having a good week!

 

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tyson baseball game

Thanks for letting us be a part of your community,

Tom Butler

Grocery Life May 12, 2014

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Tyson doing laundry for Mom for Mother's Day Tyson doing laundry for Mom for Mother’s Day

Grocery Life May 12, 2014

By Tom Butler

Good Monday afternoon from Butler & Bailey Market,

I hope everyone had a great Mother’s Day Weekend, especially all of you moms! We celebrated at our house yesterday. We had a total of four moms whose ages ranged from 40 to 79 and six children ages ranging from 5 to 49. It was fun to have everyone over, but I must admit I was tempted to sneak off and go fishing. I thought better of it considering I was in charge of preparing lunch. All kidding aside, my brother and I share the good fortune of having a great mom, and I have come to appreciate this more and more as the years go by.

We started our new two week ad at the store yesterday. Those of you that live near the store and take the Knoxville News Sentinel should have received it in

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DSC_0067your newspaper yesterday. If you do not subscribe, you can view it on our website or pick up a copy in the store.  Ray, our store manager, is in charge of putting together the ad. It is a very time consuming process for him. When you are an independent operator like we are, you do not have the luxury of a large advertising department like a chain store would.  We are in a group with independent store owners but more than 90% of them are in rural areas scattered across nine states so the items they chose to promote rarely fit the buying needs of our customers. Ray can usually use a few of these items, but everything else is customized to the things we think are important to you. Once he decides what these items are he will spend the better part of a week calling manufacturers and distributors to see if he can work out a deal with them. Most of the time they are accommodating but some have decided if you are not Wal-Mart, they are not interested. Once Ray has secured these items he meets with the department managers in the store and together they determine the meat, produce, and deli/bakery items. These items are decided based on what is in season, what holiday or occasion might be coming up, or maybe new products they want to promote. Ray then compiles all of this and we have a fresh new four page ad with 70 to 80 items. Ray really works hard at finding items that meet your wants and needs and I sure appreciate him doing it.

Some of my favorite items in the ad this week would be the Scottish salmon fillets, baby back ribs, and Nancy’s red velvet cake. My favorite way to prepare salmon is to put it skin down on a piece of foil, brush the top with olive oil, and season it with “Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Salmon Seasoning.” I then lay it on the grill for about 20 minutes at 300 degrees.  I never have to turn it and when it is done I take a spatula, slide it between skin and meat to remove and I am ready to eat.

 

 

I was grilling the baby back ribs about once a week, but since Ashley started smoking them in the store, I just take them home already cooked. Nancy’s red velvet cake is by far her most popular. If you have not tried it yet you should. It was sure a hit this past weekend for Mother’s Day. I hope everyone has a great day!

Thanks for letting us be a part of your community,

 

Tom Butler

 

Grocery Life May 8, 2014

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Grocery Life May 8, 2014

By Tom Butler

Good Thursday afternoon from Butler & Bailey Market,

I hope everyone is having a good week. The weather has been great if you like the weather in July, which I do. Seems more like 4th of July week instead of Mother’s Day week, but I think it is going to cool off in the next day or two.

We are still trying to perfect the transmission of this blog. It is supposed to go on the website, facebook, and email all at the same time, but the email part doesn’t always cooperate. Hopefully we will get this figured out soon. I am a lot behind the current technology so I really rely on my manager Keith to put this all together. I write the text out in a spiral notebook, give it Keith and he formats it on the computer, adds the photography, and sends it out. He does a great job, but I am sure he will be glad when I learn how to do it.

It has been a good week at the store so far. The only out of the ordinary thing that has happened is our semi-annual visit from the Knox County Health Department on Tuesday. We get inspected every six months as do all places that sell or serve food. The inspectors come in unannounced and go over almost every square inch of the store looking for violations. It is kind of like getting audited by the I.R.S. every six months if any you have been through that. My day off was Tuesday, so I missed the pleasure of his visit. This is probably a good thing. Sometimes his opinion of how I run my business and mine are a little different and he gets to decide? The old adage in our business is “the customer is always right.” It should be “the customer is always right and so is the Health Department.” He ended up giving us a good score and told us we were doing a great job.

We did get our local strawberries in this week. I wrote in the last blog that they were seventeen times better than shipped in ones. My wife questioned me a little on how I knew this. Well, I use a very scientific method. I walk over, get a handful, eat them, and that’s how I determine it. I told her the pen is mightier than the sword, so she needs to be nice in her critiques.

We have greatly expanded out cookout supply section. We now carry a twenty pound bag of all natural lump charcoal to go with our eight pound bag. We also have seven varieties of wood chips; hickory, mesquite, apple, maple, peach, orange, and oak. I have not tried all of them yet, but I am going to. I always like to test new flavors off the grill. We even sell a metal pan designed for wood chips when using a gas grill.

New to our meat department are fresh Cornish game hens. I love Cornish hens and having them fresh instead of frozen will make them much easier to prepare.

The cooking classes are almost full for May. The May 13th class which is “Spring and Summer Salads” has several spots available, the May 20th class has three spots available, and the May 22nd class has two. The others are full. If you would like to make a reservation for any of these just call the store, 865-691-8881.

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The deli will have strawberries dipped in chocolate, and we will have a good assortment of cut flowers for the weekend if you need to pick-up a bouquet for mom. We also offer gift certificates for cooking classes if you are looking for something special to give mom.

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Thanks for letting us be a part of your community,

 

Tom Butler

Grocery Life May 5, 2014

Grocery Life May 5, 2014

By Tom Butler

Good Monday afternoon from Butler & Bailey Market,

I hope everyone had a great weekend. We sure could not have asked for better weather. For those that celebrate
Cinco de Mayo, I guess your weekend will continue through today. If you still need last minute supplies for Cinco; our deli/bakery department has plenty of their famous guacamole dip. Nancy also made a black bean mango salsa and a great looking strawberry margarita cake.

 

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strawberry margarita cake

 

Our produce manager, Brent, told me this morning that he should be getting homegrown local strawberries tomorrow. The season is very short for local strawberries so make sure you take advantage of them while they last. They are usually about 17 times better than shipped in strawberries.

 

I get asked quite frequently when our Cruze Farm milk and ice cream delivery is. They deliver to us
every Friday, usually about lunch time. If you are not familiar with Cruze Farm, they are a local, family owned dairy farm located in East Knoxville on the banks of the French Broad River. Their milk is a little different in that it is pasteurized but not homogenized. So it needs to be shaken before it poured. They also make some delicious ice cream. Coleen Cruze makes the ice cream and bases her flavors on what is in season locally. I bet she will be coming out with a new strawberry ice cream soon. Coleen also suggested that we carry eggs from Tickiwoo Farm. They are a local producer of eggs from humanly raised, pastured hens. We now carry them in the store so give them a try. These are the only eggs Coleen will use in her ice cream.

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tickiwoo farm

Friday, we tested out some more fried chicken recipes. We can’t seem to get a consensus on a favorite breading so I will probably pull rank and pick the one I like.

My weekend was busy as usual. Right after work Friday, my son and I went on a father/son campout that our church organized. One of the families owns about thirty acres with woods, pasture, and a creek so the boys had a great time running around the property. All was well until we decided to start the campfire. Boys and fires are usually not a good combination. They want to throw everything they can get their hands on in, including each other.
Luckily, everyone survived just some minor cuts and bruises. We had a great time and hope our family gets the chance to do some more camping this summer.

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tom & tyson camping trip

My daughter had her piano recital Saturday. My wife and I marvel at how much she enjoys performing in front of a crowd and how well she does it. We are certainly proud of her. Neither one of us have ever been comfortable in front of a crowd performing.

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Laurens piano recital

Well, time to get back to work. I hope everyone has a great day!

Thanks for letting us be a part of your community,

 

Tom Butler

Grocery Life May 1, 2014

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rabbit in tom Mr. Rabbit is waiting for Tom’s garden to come in.

Grocery Life

May 1, 2014

By Tom Butler

              

Good morning from Butler and Bailey Market. It is hard to believe May is already here.

May and August are the transitional months for our labor pool at the store. We have always employed a large number of students so the ending of the school year and the beginning of a new one in August are when we have a lot of new faces and lose some familiar ones. It is always with a little sadness to see those folks move on. Most of them have been with us for several years. We do get a lot of satisfaction when they come back to visit and they have earned a college degree, started a great career, or maybe even gotten married and have children. It is kind of neat to have given so many people their first jobs. I hope it had a positive impact n them. May is also school prom time. When we did the scheduling for this week almost all of our high school students asked off for the weekend. This must be a big weekend for school proms. My first few years here, we had a small staff so when prom night came it was really a struggle to have enough employees to stay open. I always made a deal with the students. I would let them off for prom, but they had to come by the store on their way, to show off their fancy clothes and take pictures. They always held their end of the bargain and it was always a fun night to have them parading through the store in tuxedos and sparkling dresses.

Here are a few of them from the early nineties.

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prom pic 1

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prom 3

 

This should be a busy weekend at the store with the Kentucky Derby Saturday and Cinco de Mayo on Monday. Our deli will be doing plenty of party trays and the meat department will be busy with special orders. The best part is that the weather looks great for the weekend. We always sell a lot of fresh mint, for the traditional Derby drink, Mint Juleps. We will have a kit available this weekend that includes mint, sugar cubes, and swizzle sticks.

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lauren on a horse

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mint julep kit

Cinco de Mayo originated with Mexican Americans to commemorate freedom and democracy during the Civil War, and I guess all of America has adopted it because we love a reason to have a party. Popular items for Cinco include Mexican beers, limes, avocados, cilantro, chips, salsas, and guacamole. Frito Lay just came out with some new flavors of Tostitos you might want to try and our deli makes a guacamole that everyone loves.

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tostitos artisan chips

Ashley, our meat manager, is already taking a lot of orders for meats off the smoker so I am sure the smoker will be going day and night for the rest of the weekend. Call us if you need a special order (865-691-8881) otherwise we will see you in the store.

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Have a great weekend!

Thanks for letting us be a part of your community,

Tom Butler

Grocery Life April 28, 2014

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tom and erica

Grocery Life

April 28, 2014

By Tom Butler

              

Good morning from Butler and Bailey Market! I hope everyone had a great weekend. Here at the store it was a very busy weekend. We wish everyday was a warm sunny weekend day.

I mentioned Friday that Rocky Hill Hardware   was having their customer appreciation day this past Saturday. They had a record breaking day. I know they got 750 hot dogs from us and served everyone of them. This community always supports special events in the shopping center and all of us are very appreciative.

 

My weekend was busy as usual.   When you have a seven and ten year old, it seems like we always have 100 places to be, and they are in a hundred different directions. About the time you sit back to relax for the weekend it is bedtime Sunday night. I guess the big thing at our house this weekend was my father-in-law came to visit. A father and his daughter is a dynamic not be taken lightly by a son-in-law. If that’s not enough, he grew up in Brooklyn, New York and has been in law enforcement all his life. I grew up down the street from the store and didn’t want to be a policeman even when I was a kid. It is almost comical when he and I try to make conversation. I have no idea of the world he lives in and he has no idea of the world I live in. I think my wife likes to conveniently disappear for long periods of time, leaving he and I alone, just to make it harder on me. Then she will jokingly ask me later if we bonded. The one thing he and I do have in common is we both love his daughter and his grandchildren, which seems to overcome any other differences we might have.

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lauren and tyson beach

 

 

This week at the store our new two week ad starts. You can find that on our website or pick-up a copy in the store. My favorite thing on sale this week would have to be the Kurobuta pork chops. This is a Japanese style pork chop that is very tender and flavorful. They are usually think cut so they go great on the grill. I season them with Regas seasoning, sear both sides and then slow cook them until done. Try some out and let us know what you think.

Our May cooking class schedule is out and there are still plenty of spots available. You can find the menus and   dates on our website. If you see one you would like to attend just call the store to make a reservation. Have a great day.

 

Thanks for letting us be a part of your community,

Tom Butler

Grocery Life April 25, 2014

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Butler family on vacation

Grocery Life

April 25, 2014

By Tom Butler

 

 

Good morning from Butler and Bailey Market! It looks like we are finally getting past winter although I think next week is going to be on the cool side.

Here at the store, Easter kind of marks the beginning of our “selling season.” Spring breaks are over with, the days are getting longer, the tax man has been put to rest for another year and Grainger County tomatoes are back in season.

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grainger county tomatoes

The winter months are when we do our planning for the coming “selling season.” This winter I decided that we needed to upgrade our cooking facility. Prepared foods are the fastest growing segment in our industry and if we were going to keep up, changes needed to be made. What seems like a billion dollars later, we have some fancy new equipment and have still not completed the project. We have three new ovens, two new smokers, a pressure fryer, one outdoor grill, and a big exhaust hood that I think could suck the air out of Rocky Hill if we opened all our doors. This new equipment sure is nice. I hope it can give us forty years of service, which was the age of our old oven.

Ashley, our meat manager, is already running the smoker day and night. He is smoking salmon, chicken, pork, beef, and bologna. He even smoked a fresh ham for one of our customer’s Easter lunch. It has all been very popular, so give it a try if you haven’t already. Today, we are going to test some more fried chicken recipes. Hopefully, we will be offering fried chicken soon. Meanwhile, the employees get a lot of free lunches because they are the official taste testers. I will keep you updated on our progress.

This Saturday, Rocky Hill Hardware is having their annual customer appreciation day. They are going to have some great deals on plants and hardware items as well as free hotdogs and drinks. Ernie and Susanne, the owners, have been great neighbors to have in the shopping center for the last fourteen years. I wish them great success on their big day tomorrow. I hope you all can come out this weekend and support them. And don’t forget to walk next door and buy a lot of groceries while you are here. Have a great weekend!

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Rocky Hill Hardware

 

Thanks for letting us be a part of your community,

Tom Butler