Since 1966, Deemer’s has been the premier hometown grocer of the Wheelersburg area. On any given day, you can see locals coming in and out of the store. Deemer’s food fair contains 7 aisles and a deli. This may be a fraction of the size of the bigger chain grocery stores such as Walmart or Kroger, but you cannot beat the hometown feel that this quaint market provides. It has been a part of the community as long as anyone can remember.
We met with the most recent owner of the store, Ed Deemer. Ed’s grandfather was the original owner of the store. After owning the old Blackburn’s located in New Boston for two years, Mr. Deemer decided to open his own store in Wheelersburg. In 1966 the Deemer’s people know, and love still to this day was opened.
In 1974, Sonny Deemer took over the store. He was the owner most closely associated with the store. He ran the store for the majority of its history. Since this time, Deemer’s has become a cornerstone of the community. On any given day you will notice loyal customers walk in and chat with the friendly staff as they grab their groceries. The convenience and charm is what keeps these small stores in our area open as the cost of food continues to rise. In 2010, the store went through its last family change.
“When Dad passed I was ready to take it over,” said Ed Deemer, “I loved being in there and seeing everyone from the community.”
He kept the store under his ownership for the next 8 years. To him, the value of people having the comfort and convenience of a hometown store meant everything.
Deemer told us, “It can be so busy in those bigger stores. We may not have the biggest selection, but if you need your bread and milk, we were the place to go.”
Finally in 2018, Ed decided it was time to sell the business. Being the last one in his family too really want the ownership job, selling seemed like the logical choice. Food Fair had supplied the groceries for Deemer’s for some time and, in the end, bought out the store from Ed.
Though no longer locally owned, the local feel has lost no fury. The same smiling faces as before can still be seen inside the store. Cashiers and Baggers that have worked there for years still remain. One of these is manager Dave Prater, who has worked at the store for 13 years. We went to him to find out what made Deemer’s so special.
“The deli is the most attractive part to people,” Prater said, “We cut our meat fresh daily. You do not get that in bigger stores.”
The Deemer’s Deli is the stuff of legend in Wheelerburg Ohio. From Holidays to cookouts, Deemer’s food is usually there to be found. The excellent deli service brings in most of the costumers to the store. Prater also shared with us that it is the age of the stores shoppers that keep the store going.
Prater said, “We have an average age of about 45. The same people come in every week for years. You get to see new faces and catch up with people every day.”
In the age of super stores and online shopping, local food marts are becoming few and far between. However, Deemer’s Food Fair resists the flow of time around it. The Store has been there since 1966 and will most likely be there for much longer, serving Southern Ohio with pride.
By Alexander Morris, PDT Contributor © 2023 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved