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A sturdy, special place
Shirley Says
shirley says
This small block building was the first convenience store in Richmond Hill. It has been the hub of a number of small businesses and is still in use today. - photo by Photo by Richard Bates
You’ve heard the question asked, “Do clothes make the man or does the man make the clothes?” I don’t know if there is a satisfactory answer. Could this question be asked of a business: For a business to be successful, does it need to be located in a swanky shopping plaza or a futuristic glass building? I know the answer to that. Neither!
There is a small block building in Richmond Hill that has served as the hub of success for several small businesses. This simple 16 x 24 foot building was constructed over 50 years ago. It was the first ‘convenience’ store in town, a beauty shop, a nail salon and now a seafood market. In spite of its simple structure, businesses thrive there!
The wonder of this building is neither the interior nor the exterior has ever been remodeled to accommodate any trade. It’s as if the spirit of the woman for whom the store was built is embedded in each concrete block. Mrs. Marie Shuman, for whom the store was built, was without a doubt one of the sweetest, kindest women I’ve ever met.  
Mrs. Viney Cooper allowed her sister-in-law, Marie, to build the store on her property - in her front yard, no less! This close-knit family had survived some tough years by sticking together. They knew all too well the importance of covering each other’s back. These were some of the people that lived in Clyde and were forced out by the Government in the 1930’s. Today, relatives of Viney and Marie still live near the old ‘family’ store…and are still taking care of each other.
The sturdy old store never had an advertisement, however, it was well known as Viney’s, the ‘go-to’ store for the best bologna around! She had, what seemed at the time, the biggest meat-slicing machine in the world! When she pulled out the long log of bologna, she would slice it as thick as you wanted. None of her luncheon meat came pre-wrapped.
The neighborhood children often walked or rode their bikes there. Bryan County’s Probate Judge, Sam Davis, was one. He remembers as a teenager, riding his bike to his friend David Shuman’s house and they would go to Marie’s. With a smile in his voice, Sam says, “It was always a hang-out for us…there just weren’t many places to go back then. Marie was good to us…she got the job done and took care of us!” My younger sister Betty Sue remembers the old store, as well, saying, “It was always a happy place, very peaceful.”
David Shuman, owner of The Richmond Hill Pawn Shop, inherited his Aunt’s easy-going style. He was always special to her; she kept a picture of him in her cash box. Once she was robbed at knifepoint and the box was taken. Several months later it was recovered in a most interesting way. When it was found, David’s picture was still in it...of course, the small amount of money was gone! As luck would have it, a friend of David’s was cutting grass in a deep ditch several miles from the store and stumbled upon the box. He recognized the picture of David and returned the box to the family.
Just outside the front door of the block building changes have occurred over the past half-century, with none affecting it whatsoever. The widening of Highway 144, construction of a large church parking lot, opening of a major chain grocery store and a residential subdivision.
You’ve heard it said, ‘The more things change, the more they stay the same’. This is certainly true of the little block building. The same type of friendly service that existed over 50 years ago is still there. That’s how Marie would want it!

Hiers was born and raised in Richmond Hill. You can reach her at

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