Name: Pitts Market on Main Street
Date: ca. 1941
Image Number: RA03cdRA01
Comments: In the 1950's, Scottsville Had four grocery stores. One of these grocery stores, Pitts' Market, opened in 1937 across Main Street from the Methodist Church and just next door and to the east of the Masonic Lodge and Post Office building. Pitts Market was run by William Robert Pitts and Ruth (Kent) Pitts. The previous owners of the store were Edward and Betty Kent, Ruth's parents. Shown above is Pitt's Market ca. 1941 with William Robert Pitts, its owner, standing left by the 'Oysters' bin. To his right is Robert Damron Jones, a clerk at Pitts Market.
Pat PItts, son of William Robert Pitts and Ruth (Kent), remembers, "My dad spent a great deal of time placing items in the market's front windows for display to try and attract customers. You walked up three concert steps and entered into the store via a recessed front door. I'm guessing the store itself was about 20 feet wide by 35 feet in length. Shelves were on either side, floor to almost ceiling with four small side windows above the shelves and the windows in the front. A long refrigerated case sat near the back of the store with a scale, a sink, and a butcher's block behind. One large free-standing shelving unit (called a gondola) stood on the left side for bakery products. On the right were two counters with a single cash register to serve as a checkout area. In the front left window (as you faced the store) was a desk where my mother did "the books."
"As you walked into the store, you went to the counter and asked for what you wanted---no wandering up and down the aisles. The store carried
all sorts of edibles, including canned goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, and meat. The store had a meat grinder, and sometimes after hurs, Mr. Pitts
would grind up some pork or other meat that a customer had slaughtered in order to make sausage. There were also an ice cream freezer with popsicles and
Dixie cups. Few people had freezers at home, so ice cream was a special treat."
Pitts Market advertisement for its opening day, 01 October 1937.
Photo courtesy of Pat Pitts, Scottsville, VA.
"Groceries could be, and were, ordered over the phone on the desk and were often delivered toyour home by someone from the store. Groceries could be, and again were, often purchased "on a ticket" meaning, a running tab was kept by our mom (Ruth Pitts), and you would be billed at the end of each month for that month's grocery purchase with bills sent. There was some barter as well. A customer might bring in fresh produce from their garden and trade it for canned goods. You could call for home delivery--no charge--and either Pat or his brother, Billy, would cheerfully bring your order to your door."
"Our father was such a nice guy, and collection of the monthly bill was not always easy to obtain. I'm sure when the store closed, there were numerous accounts in arrears. It's been over fifty years since the store's closure in 1962, and it is all still so vivid to me." Pat Pitts, July 2021.
Mr. William Robert Pitts was Mayor of Scottsville from 1955 to 1959. He also ran a real-estate business. When his wife, Ruth, began to suffer from cancer, they closed the store and sold the building. Pat thinks they just broke even with the store---real estate was less time-consuming and more profitable.
The Pitts Market store building had been a boarding house at one time. The Pitts family lived behind it in a spacioous apartment with extra bedrooms upstairs. They did not regularly rent out rooms, but during World War II, Doris Glass Graves lived there while her husband served overseas.
The Pitts family sold the Pitts Market Store building in 1962, and its new owners remodeled the building after this purchase. In 2021, this
remodeled building on Scottsville's Main Street is known as James River Apartments; see below
Pitt's Market store building, which was remodeled after it was sold in 1962, is known as James River Apartments in 2021.
Photo courtesy of Connie Geary.
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