The old Green’s Supermarket/BP station is an iconic fixture on State Road 71 North in Marianna. Many, many customers were loyal from childhood through adulthood, visiting the store thorough the years despite the difficult maneuvering it sometimes took to get to a fuel tank or to navigate in and out of the small parking lot.
In a few weeks, those troubles will disappear. The old station is being demolished to make way for a parking area to serve the new Marathon station that has already been erected next to the old store. It’s standing ready now to replace Green’s as soon as merchandise can be moved and the store otherwise readied for business.
New fueling stations are being added to the property as well. Owner Steve Sangaree said there should only be a day or two of closure as merchandise and appointments are moved into the new store in a few weeks. The fueling stations will be idle a few days longer as pipes and other fittings are put in place, he said, but all the work should be completed by early or mid-June.
Baxter’s Asphalt is already preparing the ground for the new fueling stations and the part of the parking area that is already empty.
Although the building will be demolished, nothing can erase the memories that were made inside it, says Jackson County Road and Bridge Superintendent Al Green.
The son of store founder AJ Green, he says his father taught him many valuable lessons there.
“He gave me a good work ethic, for one thing,” Green said. “On weekends and summers, he’d have me up at 5:30 in the morning and we’d work in there so many hours. He taught me how to cut meat, how to run the business from the bottom up.” The store had an old stove in back. The father taught the son how to cook on that stove and the two prepared countless numbers of their breakfasts and lunches there.
They cut fresh meat for their customers, selling it unpackaged from display case.
Al still has that old meat block, keeping it and other treasured artifacts from the store in his own personal meat-processing shed out where he lives. He’s asked that the demolition team save him a section of old plywood, painted green during the days his father owned the store. It’s tucked away behind some drywall that was placed in the store when it changed hands years ago.
That will go in his shed as well, along with pictures and objects that remind him of the precious days and evenings he spend by his beloved father’s side, learning, working and growing into his own man.
His father built the store in 1963 and operated it until around 1974. Then he sold the business, but not the property. One day in 1985 he called Al and asked him if he still wanted to fulfill his old dream of going into the grocery business for himself. After talking it over with his wife, Linda, the son bought the business back from the owner who had taken over when his father sold. He would go on to buy the property from his parents as well.
Al operated the store from 1985 to 1998, then selling property, business and all to Sangaree Oil.
He said there’s a sadness in knowing that the building will be torn down, but at the same time has made peace with the fact that things must change as time goes on. He said he’s glad, though, that his father did not have to know it. His dad died about a year ago. It’s a little tough on his mother and siblings, he said, but they, too, will have memories that will outlast any structure. He’s taking comfort in that.