On Saturday, our community said good-bye to one of its true pillars. Bob West was a longtime grocer in Palouse, a dear and loyal customer of our market, and someone we truly felt honored to call a friend.
One of the best things about owning a small town market is that you get an opportunity to really get to know many of your customers and their families.
In just the three years we've been here, we've seen babies become toddlers and toddlers start school. We've seen teenagers graduate high school and go off to college. And, we've seen grown kids move back to start families of their own. Marriages and anniversaries, birthdays and holidays, we watch their lives unfold. And, because of this, one of the toughest things is saying good-bye when one is lost.
Bob was one of the first folks that left a vivid impression on us when we arrived in Palouse in the fall of 2008.
He enjoyed talking shop with Jeff and still had the gleam in his eye of one who not only knew this business intimately, but truly loved it. He'd marvel at how much things have changed, all the while grinning knowingly at how, on many levels, they were very much still the same.
Grocers share a unique lifestyle, and that common experience seems to foster a natural affinity between them. A business with a tendency to permeate every aspect of one's life, finding balance is often a challenge.
Bob was an example of one who had succeeded.
A grocer for more than four decades in this community, he had lived it. Bob survived it. And, not only did he survive it, he still loved it years after he retired. He was a success not just in business, but in his marriage, family, and community as well. That made Bob a rock star to Jeff and someone he deeply respected and admired.
I like to imagine that there's a special place in heaven for grocers.
It's a place where the shelves are always full and faced, the produce fresh, the meat pristine, the store is always profitable, cases never go down, and nothing ever goes out-of-date. The only responsibility these grocers have is to visit with their customers. And, best of all – their feet never hurt again.
We'll miss you, Bob.
-Vicki & Jeff