This Week’s Kent County History Quiz Question: Name the last country store to close its doors in Kent County?
A. Clark’s Store
B. Dierker’s Store
C. Melitota Store
D. Pomona Store
This Week’s Answer: Pomona Store
Country stores, like corner stores in town, emerged as neighborhood conveniences and social centers as soon as there were enough folks clustered in hamlets and villages. People have always needed staples, a loaf of bread or maybe some candles. For country folk, country stores always had a wide range of stock, including kittens and roosters looking for homes. Their inventory changed over their history depending on evolution in packaging and the needs of their patrons—from no packaging (baskets and barrels) to the modern day impossible-to-open tear-your-nails-off type of today.
According to the sign that used to adorn the front of Pomona Store, its history began in 1915 on Quaker Neck at the crossroads of MD Rtes. 259 and Pomona Rd. However, the history of the naming of that intersection goes back to April 20, 1878, when the Kent News printed that “a new Post Office had been established at Bakersville, in Quaker Neck, to be called ‘Pomona’.”
Howard Rose, long-time resident of Quaker Neck, remembers the store as “Slagles,” who were owners from 1957 – 1975. Slagles were followed by George Kennedy and his family.
The most recent and last owners were Bill and Lesley Murray, who acquired the property in 1985. Becoming both their family home and a business, the Murrays transformed the old place. It will be remembered as a welcoming and thoughtful trove of much-needed treasures–like ice cream and wine. Their meat was considered excellent and well worth the drive from town. The Murrays tried to think of everything–for their family, those who looked forward to just stopping in, and those who knew they could depend on Pomona Store to have what their cupboards needed.
With their son Chris grown and on his own, the time came to make a move. The Murrays retired in 2010. There were attempts by tenants to keep the store open, but it now houses a company installing 21st- century fiber optic technology. Time marches on.
“It was a great place to stay in touch with your neighbors,” mused Howard Rose. “There is no common ground any longer.”
The Kent County History Quiz is a weekly local brainteaser sponsored by The Peoples Bank. Kent County historian and author Joan Horsey and columnist Kate Meehan contribute to the quiz’s development. Our goal is to create an opportunity for local learning and discussion. If you have a quiz idea, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.