Last night it was reported that you have been sold. My tender-hearted seven year old daughter burst into tears at the finality of it all. Her shaking sobs tugged my own heartstrings and I too, felt the emotion of the moment.
How can it be that we've become so attached to a grocery store?
And yet we have. Week by week you've become a sure and steady part of our family. I've pushed three kids in infant seats up and down your aisles. Held little hands as the older two learned to walk beside the cart. Taught them letters, numbers, colors, and math in every row. We've had countless lunches and dinners in your cafes. My kids look forward to the rainbow cookies your bakery employees hand out with smiles. Those cookies keep them occupied for ... at least to the next aisle. Or until we get to the lobster tank. What joy and giggles your lobsters have generated over the years. Crazy legs and claws that climb all over each other and launch doomed crustaceans up into bubbling waters.
I know your aisles as if I'd stocked the shelves myself. I can find what I need in seconds, or spend an hour perusing all the options. I've become so loyal I feel as if I've betrayed you when on rare occasion we must shop at Kroger on a Sunday evening. Oh the shame I feel if someone sees a Kroger brand product in my cupboards. I'm a proud, card carrying Ukropie, who earns fuel perks and answers surveys for Ukrops Insiders.
My family loves to eat in your cafe. I know without asking that both kids will order a chicken and potato wedges kids meal. And that I'll order a panini. My dad has created tons of memories taking my kids out to Ukrops for dinner. We even bring our out-of-town family to Ukrops when they come to visit.
For so long I've referred to you 'my Ukrops'. The Short Pump store is 'Papa's Ukrops' and the Hull Street store is 'Uncle Stephen's'. Possession. Ownership. My Ukrops.
But you aren't mine. And you've been sold. So as these changes begin to take place - changes like beer and wine on your white shelves, opening for business on Sundays, and a name change - let me thank you...
for giving cookies to my kids. You made them smile.
for the 'Parent's With Infants' parking spot. You eased my day.
for sponsoring so many community events. You helped save lives.
for helping churches with VBS year after year. You invested in kids.
for helping my husband and my sister through college. You helped create a teacher and a doctor.
for the Fuel Perks program. You helped us stay within our budget.
for the Ukrops/Monument Avenue 10K. You encouraged fun and fitness.
for the medicines and pharmacists' advice over the last twenty years. You helped us get healthy.
for closing on Sundays and for trying so hard for so long to keep being the awesome store that you are. You won't be forgotten.
Most of all, thank you for taking my groceries to the car every single time I shop. When my three year old won't stay with me as I lug a 15lb infant car seat to my van, which is parked at the back of the lot because I can't successfully park between two cars yet - I am deeply grateful for your help with my groceries.
So long Ukrops! We'll miss you!