Sunday’s announcement that downtown grocery staple Bryant’s Pic-Pac is closing — a decision that owners Danny and Sheila Bryant say won’t be swayed by a community outpouring, as happened last year — is disheartening not just for the customers of the family-owned store but for Frankfort as a whole.
Since it was built in 1953 — first as an A&P before converting to Pic-Pac in the early ’80s — the store has provided downtown and South Frankfort residents without transportation a walkable option for grocery needs.
Pic-Pac has a meat department that easily rivals that of any national supermarket chain, in addition to hot plate lunches served daily. (We can’t fathom the number of Frankfort High School students over the years who grew up on the lunch specials.)
But, in the end, the customer base isn’t what it once was, and after 44 years in the business the Bryants are ready to move on.
However, for those who stop in once a week for the market’s signature snappy beer cheese, its regular customers and the loyal employees, the absence of Pic-Pac will leave a gaping hole in the community.
Compared to other store closures, this one almost feels personal — probably because unlike larger supermarkets, Pic-Pac customers are made to feel like part of the family. Walking through the automatic doors into the air conditioning on a hot summer afternoon to the smiling faces of the cashiers is as welcoming as a warm embrace.
Sure, the grocery store is a throwback to a bygone era. There are no automatic self-checkout lanes or online orders with curbside pickup, but that — coupled with the friendly, helpful staff — is what gives Pic-Pac its charm and homey feel.
It is truly difficult to imagine the Second Street artery without its heartbeat. So before those automatic doors close for good, stop by, pick up a pound of country ham, chew the fat with a neighbor and thank Danny, Sheila and staff for all they have done for the Frankfort community.