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Princeton Grocer Says Goodbye To Longtime Store, Customers

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PRINCETON, N.C. — The run is over. After 55 years in Princeton, Melvin Edwards is closing his grocery store.

Edwards has seen a lot of changes over the years. But he says this one may be the hardest to adapt to.

The grocery store is Edwards' pride and joy. He bags groceries one minute, hugs customers the next.

"We know a lot of our customers by name," he said. "We knew their grandfathers. We knew their grandmothers. We knew their fathers and mothers.

"You learn a lot about people. You learn a majority of people are good people. And of course, you find out things change. When I first began, we didn't sell fresh chicken; we sold live chickens."

From poultry to priorities, in 55 years, the biggest difference in the store was a change of heart.

"I enjoyed making money," Edwards said. "At one time, I thought I wanted to make all there was in the world. But I changed my mind."

Saturday night, Edwards said goodbye to his store, his customers. The old "Mom and Pop" store is giving way to the modern market.

With the Food Lion moving in next door, Edwards and his family have come to the conclusion there is not enough business to go around.

"The hardest part right now is looking at these shelves being so empty," he said.

The next "hardest part" may be when Edwards stops going to the store after 55 years.

"It is just in my blood," he said. "I will miss the people very much."

All six of Edwards' children worked in the Princeton store. Four stayed involved and now help him run his other stores.

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