Patrons, food make Sibley Supply Store what it is today

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 10, 2001

SIBLEY – Familiar faces, friendly greetings and homestyle food were the order of the day Sunday afternoon at the Sibley Supply Store – and it’s that way every day, said the store’s regulars.

&uot;It’s the people,&uot; regular customer Alvin Smith said when asked why he has come back to the store regularly for almost all of his 29 years. &uot;They know you, and they’re friendly – and that’s what makes the difference.&uot;

But the food couldn’t hurt. Every day, the store features dinners with entrees like fried chicken or barbecue and homestyle side dishes like turnip greens.

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Owner Jessie Stewart knows the menu by heart, especially since he cooks it himself. Every day, he drives from his home in Woodville to the store in south Adams County, getting there in time to open the store at 5:30 a.m.

&uot;I put the coffee on and then I go straight back to the kitchen to fix dinner,&uot;&160;Stewart said. &uot;I usually have my dinners fixed early, by about 10:30 or so.&uot;

A homemade sign on the food warmer notes that the store just added homemade hot tamales to the menu. Hamburgers, french fries and other fast food staples are also advertised on a sign behind the counter.

Since he bought the store in the summer of 2000 from previous owner Robert Carroll June, Stewart has added a picnic table and two smaller tables in the back of the store. &uot;A lot of workers like to have somewhere like this to eat lunch,&uot; he said.

Next, Stewart would like to add a washeteria and a touchless car wash to his store’s offerings. The store has undergone many changes since it opened in 1939. Stewart points out adjacent rooms that once housed such offerings as a butcher shop, a feed store and a room where customers could pick up their mail.

Now, Sibley residents pick up mail at a tiny post office located on the north side of the store.

Although Stewart also owns a service station and towing service in Woodville and works as a Woodville police officer, he said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to own the Sibley store, too.

He found out about the store’s availability one day and bought it the next. &uot;And I&160;never closed it,&uot;&160;Stewart said. &uot;We just took his money out of the cash register and put mine in and kept going.&uot;

The main reason Stewart chose to do business in the Sibley area, he said, was the people. &uot;The people have been so friendly and so supportive of this business,&uot; he said.

The Dart is a weekly feature in which a reporter throws a dart at a map and finds a story where it lands.