Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Skagway...So long and farewell.

I've been having a lot of sleepless nights lately.  Mostly because of a certain baby that thinks he'd rather not sleep in his crib or even sleep at all.  So I find myself in random thought mode. 

Earlier in the week there was an announcement that Skagway, our long time grocery store in Grand Island will be closing it's doors after millions of years of being open.  This little independently, generational owned grocery store sits blocks from my parents house and hosts many of my memories growing up. In fact, when people ask where my parents house is, I always say "by Skagway North".  People just KNOW Skagway.

I wish I could draw out Skagway from brain to paper and properly illustrate the awesomeness.  It changed a lot from the time I knew it.  But in the glory days of the 90's, it had everything from clothing, fabric, sporting goods, hardware, garden center, luggage, knick knack gifts, camera department, video store, pharmacy, grocery, deli, gift wrapping, paycheck cashing, a snackbar.  It had a bear that walked around handing out treats and a lady that walked around disguised each week that was hired to catch shoplifters!  It was the original supercenter.  Somehow Skagway was kind of weird to walk in an find jeans and a blender all within two aisles.  I don't get how it was any weirder than Walmart but it just had that odd and awesome factor that wasn't Walmart.  It was awesome.

My Dad was one of Skagway's finest patrons.  My early memories start with riding over in his truck bumping over the speed bumps in the parking lot and heading to the hardware department and looking for whatever Dad needed.  We doddled in there big time.  He liked going just to find "treasures" as he called them. He came out with other things than he needed but that was fine and it was fun going to Skagway with my Dad.  I think he just liked the feeling of awesomeness that it had.  Skagway video was pretty great to visit too.  Dad always got a Sasparilla and I can vividly remember Kermit and Gary Burris in the video store just smiling and checking out videos for us.  

Skagway was also my first job.  I started as a super sacker and still have my apron and my brother's apron as proof.  Everyone started out as sacker and boy did we learn how to keep perishables and non perishables separate.  I didn't even know what a perishable was before I turned 14 and started sacking.  We filled bags so they were evenly stacked and full.  There was one memory that I put the ladies two rolls of paper towels in one bag and she dumped it all out and told me there was not enough in it.  The people of Skagway set the standard for how groceries were to be bagged in Grand Island.  We carried out the groceries to peoples cars and loaded them up.  Sometimes we'd get a tip but not very often.  I really did enjoy it.  I moved up to checker after about a year.  That was fun too, scanning and smelling the mexican laundry soap and seeing beef tongue and tripe roll down the belt wondering what the hell was that that I just scanned.  On Sundays, that place was booming. 

The people were all great that worked there.  They employed lots of high school students and people with disabilities, mostly in their late 30's.  T-Dogg was my favorite and he always wanted me to come sit in his hot tub.  I think he may have gotten fired for his naughty talk to his girls but he was employed there for many years and I still got a kick out of seeing him when I'd come home from college. Most of my friends had a job there and it was a great way to meet people from other schools and schmooze with the cute upperclassmen.  Lots of boy crushes back then.  I still see people in Lincoln that I worked with at Skagway and they just have that "good guy" feeling about them and I'll always say hi knowing we shared that Skagway experience together.  Good people.

After I reminisced all of this the other night, I found that I wasn't so mad at my baby for waking me up.  I had this good warm and happy feeling because those were good times at that darn Skagway store.  I'll sure miss going in there when I go home.  There are still familiar faces when I visit and I will miss going to treasure hunt.  Those aisles hold lots of memories and I will always be fond of Skagway.  

Cheers to you Skagway.  I never thought I'd write a post about a grocery store.  

1 tidbits of your thoughts:

Anonymous said...

What an amazing trip down memory lane. I too grew up with Skagway and will miss shopping there and the people you run into and the people that work there. Sad to see it close but as you said the memories are priceless! Thanks for sharing! Bunny