(Photo by Kevin Kidd)
THV 11's Meredith Mitchell with Perryville residents. (Photo: Oran Hardcastle, KTHV)
PERRYVILLE, Ark. (KTHV) - The town of Perryville has been without a grocery store since October, when The Big Star Food and Drug store caught fire during business hours.
Losing the store put many residents out of work and out of everyday items and necessities, such as food and prescriptions. Since that fire, the owner opened a temporary pharmacy and announced plans to rebuild.
But without the only grocery store in the area, residents in this small town have had to alter their daily lives.
Some of those residents are Jim and Ruby Wilson, who have lived in Perryville for more than 20 years; both are legally blind.
"We'd get across the highway and buy our groceries and then they would have a young man or whoever was handy to help us to get back across the highway and he'd load me up," recalled Jim Wilson.
But Big Star's fire changed that.
"I have to plan ahead, If I run out of milk and don't have any for cereal if I want cereal," explains Ruby.
Her husband says the couple have lost some of their independence since the fire.
"It hasn't been a major disaster for us, because we have so many friends who can help us out," explained Wilson. "But it has been a pretty good inconvenience for us and I'm ready for it to change it get back to having a grocery store again."
The Wilsons get around town in their modified golf cart; they park across Highway 9 and walk across to run errands.
"It's been tough." Jim admits. "We've been using the dollar store for just about everything, but they don't have all your variety."
The couple said the nearest grocery store is 20 minutes away, and is anxious to have their Big Star Food and Drug back in business.
"That's why I keep asking," Wilson said. "When are you going to start building that thing again?" It would mean a lot to us to have our grocery store back."
Tom Watson, the owner of the Perryville Big Star, told THV 11 over the phone Tuesday that their plans to rebuild still stand.
Watson says he's been soliciting bids for the new building and should have a ground-breaking date soon.
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