Heritage Grocer & Folk Arts Curator
Barbara Ann Reece — proprietor & owner of the now-shuttered Reece’s Market grocery store & meat-market in downtown Caledonia — is up-front about what happened to her family’s little third-generation grocery store on the Village of Caledonia’s Public Square: Caledonia is dead, she says. Reece’s Market launched in Caledonia’s Masonic Block building in 1933 and, after a brief hiatus, served groceries, Jack Reece’s famous secret-recipe loose sausage, local Ballreich’s chips, and penny candy from 1955-2010. Reece’s Market was a small mom & pop grocery that came of age during Caledonia’s glory years: when it hosted a booming Public Square commercial economy, with half-a-dozen eateries, six grocery stores, and movies projected on buildings on the public square.
Caledonia was hit hard by triple-whammies from the 1950s to 1980s: first, the re-routing of former U.S. 30-South — which had once cut directly through the Village’s Public Square — to a bypass that skirted the town in 1954; then, with the consolidation of local schools that robbed Caledonia of its own local high school in the mid-1960s; and, finally by the twinned forced of deindustrialization and the rise of big-box chain stores in the 1980s, which decimated Caledonia residents’ spending power at the same time as price-gouging corporations like Walmart crowded in along Highway 95 outside of Marion.
A family establishment, Reece’s Market fought hard to keep up, but a reduction in hours due to the death of a family employee made it difficult for the beloved store to compete. When Reece’s Market closed in 2010 with owner Jack Reece’s cancer diagnosis, it was the last grocery store left in Caledonia.
Though closed, Reece’s Market’s interior is unchanged to passer-by’s, and strongly evokes the mid-century moment, when Reece’s Market — with its large parking-lot and spotless stainless-steel grocery carts — became the first modern, self-service “supermarket” in Caledonia. The store’s historical integrity and Barbara Reece’s interior decorations — curating local Marion County antiques and hand-made folk art — make it a rare example of a surviving “country store” in an era where mom & pop groceries are exceedingly rare.
SHOP // ADDRESS:
127 E. Marion Street || Caledonia, Ohio || 43314
Note: Reece’s Market is currently closed for business. Please contact the Marion Voices Folklife & Oral History Program with any questions, and we will gladly relay them to the owner.
Greengrocery; Hand-Sliced Deli Meats & Cheeses; Sandwiches; Penny Candy; Good Conversation
Foodways; Mom & Pop Shops; Heritage Groceries; De Facto Community Museums; Folk Art