Remembering the Sutton Family, grocery store

Last year in the month of March, our life began to change dramatically due to the impending pandemic and all the changes that would come. Here in Arcanum, we lost our grocery store, Sutton’s Super Valu that had been a part of Arcanum since 1936. I’m sure that I am not the only one who misses the Sutton Family and the store that was more a part of our lives than we all realized. Didn’t you miss seeing Kirby in his Christmas suit and always saying “Hello and Merry Christmas” every time you entered into the store during the month of December? How many of you had one or more of your children work for the Sutton Family sometime throughout their high school years? We were fortunate enough to have two of our children have a part-time job the store during their growing up years.

Not only was visiting the store to pick up a necessary item or to buy weekly groceries, the family that worked there always went out of their way to greet you and would be glad to order something you couldn’t find on the shelf, all you had to do was ask for their help. Then there was the community-oriented part of the family, you need a sponsor for a baseball team? “Sure, we can do that.” Oh, would Sutton’s let our 4-H club hold a bake sale in your lobby? “Oh, sure we can do that — what day and what time?” Would Sutton’s purchase an advertisement in the high school yearbook, The Arcette? “Sure, how much do you need?” Would Sutton’s support the band and allow posters to be put up on the bulletin board? “Sure, do you need tape or staples?” The helium balloons for the alumni banquet — they were donated by Kirby Sutton. The painting by Roger Snell of the city building that was to be auctioned off to help funds for the old city building, yes, Sutton’s allowed it to be on display in their store and donated hey their share of the cost to do so back to the Preservation Society. This family, the Sutton family is the one we terribly miss. Not only their charitable donations of time and money, but the support they always gave to all the groups, organizations, and functions within the Arcanum Community. It saddens me to drive by the empty parking lot and think about the members of the family and wonder how they are all doing — they were like family because we saw them so often whenever we needed something from the store.

How did Suttons become a staple member of our community? In 1936, Roy and Anola Sutton and their 18-year-old son Benjamin moved from Lightsville to Arcanum. In Lightsville, they had operated a small general store and delivered groceries. In 1936, Roy purchased an existing storefront on the south side of George Street, just west of the present day parking lot. It was here that the Sutton family began their career serving the Arcanum community with all their grocery needs. Their business would evolve over the years — in locations and advancements in the way products were merchandised. In 1950, Suttons moved across the street on West George Street to the building just west of Bob Sink’s Jewelry Store. It was at this time, that Roy stepped out of the ownership of the business and his son, Benjamin and his wife, Janet (Bolinger) moved into the new building that was constructed by Clark and Weisenbarger, a local contractor. The new store was as modern as any store in the metro area and provided Arcanum with the best service and groceries. The store underwent many changes in order to accomplish this including refrigerated produce, meat and dairy cases, along with frozen food cases.

During the summer of 1975, the Sutton family began planning a new store to be constructed on North Main Street on the east side adjacent to the current Dollar General Store (formerly the location of Arcanum Lanes.) On Dec. 6, 1976, Benjamin and Janet, along with their two sons, Scott and Kirby, who were the third generation of Suttons to operate a grocery in Arcanum opened the new store. This store not only had the latest technology and products, but when it opened it was open seven days a week until midnight with an on-site parking lot. This location was expanded and remodeled over the years to accommodate the growing grocery business which included a gas station, seasonal fresh flowers, and their famous Friday night cookouts! In 2017, Sutton’s opened a second location in the village of Union City in the old Marsh building. Through the years, Scott and Kirby’s spouses and children also joined in working at the store. Scott and Kim (Corzatt) had two sons Justin and Adam. Kirby and Lori (Markland) had a daughter, Shayla; she and her husband, Josh Urlage were the fourth generation owners when they announced on Feb. 28, 2020, the store was closing.

Thank you to the Sutton and Urlage Family — thank you for all the things you did for our kids, our community, and for our families. You will never know the impact you made on each of us. Your generosity was noteworthy and I’m sure we don’t know to what level you were involved and that you were never properly thanked. We sincerely wish you the best and miss you all!

“It’s hard to forget someone who gave so much to remember.” ~Kushandwisdom

“Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.” ~Randy Pausch

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By Vickie Rhodehamel

Arcanum News for the week of February 22, 2021

Vickie Rhodehamel is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her Arcanum community column. She can be reached by calling 937-692-6188, by e-mail at [email protected] Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.