History of Fort Hill, Part 2 (2008). Mural by: Loray McDuffie, Taylor Saintable, Edwin Perez-Clancy, Christine O'Connell, Julia Andreasson, Jorge Benitez, Divah Payne, Lucy Saintcyr, Laua Dedonato, Gregg Bernstein.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Got Milk? Amenities for the body

It hadn't been my intention to ignore amenities for the body by focusing three consecutive posts on amenities for the spirit, but Elder Mitchell's flock was so quickly industrious with their new sign that it seemed ungracious not to make immediate note of it. The good people of the Mission Church had filled their parking lot—and seemingly the church building, too—as I went by Friday evening around 8 o'clock.

Got milk?

One of the essential basics of a corner store—beyond cigarettes and lottery tickets—seems to be milk. Fort Hill is blessed with two, nicely distributed, corner stores, one roughly at the north end, and the other at the south end of the hill.

At John Eliot Square is Juba Market and Café. At the corner of Highland and Marcella streets is the Marcella Market. They are very different in almost every way.

Juba Market is just getting started, but the merchandise is still surprisingly spare. There barely seems to be enough stock to justify one quarter of the square footage Juba is renting. Focused on the Timilty School perhaps, candy and snacks are the extent of things. Oh. And, milk. And, sodas.

The day I was there, tradesmen were working to install the commercial stove in the open in the back. The extremely pleasant man working the cash register volunteered to me that they would soon be serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Now, the Marcella Market is an entirely different kettle of fish. This place is packed to the gunnels with absolutely everything you need to entertain the first, second, and third cousins when they and their families stop by unannounced.

There was cooking oil, beans (three kinds), rice, canned goods, paper plates, disposable roasting pans, desserts, some lunch meats,plus the obligatory sodas. And, milk. The merchandise is packed so high they need a 7-foot stock boy to fetch down the paper goods from the top shelves. The signs in the window advertise an ATM, but I missed seeing it among the tightly packed shelving units.

Marcella Market is stocked with an abundance of attitude as well. When I entered the store the gentleman behind the counter drilled holes into me with his eyes and the card players paused their game to inspect the new arrival. I circuited the small store for perhaps a full sixty seconds trying to take it all in. When I returned to the the front of the store a pugnacious little cannonball of a man stood belligerently between me and the door. "What do you want?" was his greeting.

As I said, Juba and Marcella markets are very different, but in common, both are run by immigrants and both have milk, though Marcella Market has a Dun & Bradstreet and, if this posting is to be believed, was on the market last June for $30,000 (no inventory).

Now, I'll be honest. I haven't been by to Fernandez III Liquors to see if they stock milk. I'll try to obtain that bit of intelligence in the next week or so.

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