St. Michael—Little has changed over the years inside the old Eureka Co. store in St. Michael, where generations of miners would line the wood-plank floor near the gated teller's windows to cash their mine checks and turn in their coupons for groceries, fresh cut meats, appliances and furniture.
George Deyarmin purchased the store from Eureka on Aug. 18, 1969, a deed found tucked in a box in the safe notes.
An era will come to an end on Saturday, when Deyarmin's Meat & Deli closes for the last time.
Deyarmin's daughter, Jody Roberts, said the store originally was to close on Aug. 15, but she thought it would be better to finish the week. She didn't realize until the family found the deed that it's the anniversary of their father buying the business.
"When my dad bought the store, it was very, very busy," Roberts recalled.
Viola Ickes, 62, of Beaverdale brought her grandchildren to Deyarmin's market last week. The shelves were mostly empty, save for some loaves of bread, milk in the cooler, candy and lottery tickets.
"It's going to be a loss for us," Ickes said. "I'm going to miss them. We got to be friends. You talk to them, chit chat. You get to know them."
The family cites rising oil costs to heat the old building and competition from national retailers as reasons for closing.
"Our business went down with Walmart, Giant Eagle and those places," Roberts said. "You can't keep up with them. You can't buy in bulk like they do."
Once, Deyarmin's was the place to buy meat.
Two or three butchers would cut sides of hanging beef – not boxed meat like today.
"It was nothing to have people lined up at the meat market," said Roberts' sister, Debbie Kentes, one of five family members who own the store.
"We had a tremendous meat business when my dad was with us. Some people would buy a whole hind quarter, and he would cut it in the evening if he didn't have time during the day.
"When he died (about three years ago), there was really nobody to take over the meat market. So we stopped selling meat."
Kentes remembers the days when three cash registers were humming in front of giant plate glass windows now covered with boards. Now in her 50s, she been working at the store since her junior year of high school.
"I just enjoyed working with family," she said. "We spent a lot of time here."
"We had a lot of fun," Roberts added.
Roberts still doesn't know what to expect when she won't have to come to the store early in the morning.
"It's going to be different for me," she said. "I'm used to getting up and being on the go. I'm actually going to be able to sleep in a little."