TEXARKANA -- The only grocery store in Foreman will close soon if the owner fails to sell the business that has been in his family for more than 70 years.
The store has served the Little River County town of about 1,000 since the late 1940s. Owner Perry Young said that if it closes, people may have to go to Ashdown or New Boston, Texas, for groceries -- a 40-mile round trip that he fears some may not be able to make.
"Elderly ladies can't hop into a car and drive to New Boston or Ashdown," Young said. "Foreman has a Dollar Store, but you can't get a rib-eye steak and tomatoes for supper."
If the closure occurs, it will be part of a regional trend. Horatio, Mineral Springs and Tom, Okla., no longer have grocery stores, Young said.
Young, a 73-year-old Vietnam War veteran, said his father, Hap Young, opened the grocery store in 1948.
"My dad walked me to school and told me he would teach me how to work," Young said. "Parents don't teach children how to work anymore. Now they think working is child abuse. My dad stacked Coke boxes up so I could stand on the boxes and reach up and sack groceries."
Medical problems have forced Young to give up the grocery store.
"I don't want to get out, but medical problems with the veins in my legs are causing the problems," he said. "The doctor said if I don't get off the concrete ... the doctors might have to amputate my legs.
"I don't want that. I have a 7-year-old grandchild and a 9-year-old grandchild. I love to play with the grandchildren. They're the highlight of my day."
Mike Cranford, county judge of Little River County, noted the importance of having the grocery store in the community.
"Not only will they be missed for supplying groceries to their customers, but also for the jobs they provided to hundreds of people," Cranford said. "Small towns such as ours rely heavily on every retailer we have.
"The news that they planned to retire is something we have known in the back of our minds was coming but are now having to come to terms with it."
Former Mayor Judy Adams said Young's Grocery was the only full-time grocery store she could remember in the town.
"I worked in the store during high school years along with many, many other students since the store opened," she said.
Young keeps a list of workers and said the store has employed 543 people since it opened in 1948.
Adams said Young was the "No. 1 supporter," citing his generosity when it came to town and school activities.
"We will all miss Perry and the store," Adams said. "We wish him well in his retirement, but we will all really miss his store if it closes. We are hopeful someone will come along that will buy it and keep it going.
"Foreman won't be the same without Young's Grocery Store."
State Desk on 02/06/2019
Print Headline: Closure looming for Arkansas town's only grocery