For decades, Roses discount store has been a retail institution for Marion and numerous other cities and towns throughout the South. The Marion store has known three different locations where generations of customers have done their shopping.
And while other discount chains – Sky City for instance – have passed from the scene, Roses is still going strong.
Now, the local store has gone through a remodeling and is about to have a grand reopening with three days of festivities.
The 47,000-square-foot building has received improved lighting and new signs for the various departments. The whole front register area has been changed. The front doors will become automatic and these new doors will be installed in either December or January.
In addition, a part of Roses will be leased out to a company called Astro Furniture. This section will have a complete line of living room and bedroom furniture and flooring materials, something that has not been offered at Roses before. This is being done at other stores in the chain.
District Manager Tim Rinkes said the addition of Astro Furniture will not change what customers have come to expect at Roses. All of the traditional Roses categories will stay the same.
“We’ve upgraded our look and ease of shopping for the customers to have a better experience in our stores,” he said.
On Thursday, Nov. 2, the grand reopening of Roses in Marion will feature a live-remote broadcast by radio station WBRM, doughnuts, coffee and other tasty treats from Mr. Bob’s Do-Nuts and hot dogs from David’s Famous Hot Dogs food truck. Two televisions will be among the items to be given away. The McDowell Chamber of Commerce is scheduled to have a ribbon-cutting ceremony with local officials present.
On Friday, Nov. 3, David’s Famous Hot Dogs food truck will be back along with a bake sale.
Saturday, Nov. 4 will be the big event day, said Roses officials. The car show will be held in the parking lot as part of the grand reopening from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Terry McKinney’s Country Heritage will play classic country music and a bouncy house will be available for the young folks. A trackless train will take young and old for rides. Free popcorn, snow cones and cotton candy will be available.
Darth Vader will stroll around and give out “Star Wars” toys and memorabilia.
Doug McCraw is in charge of the car show planned for Nov. 4. Like so many longtime residents, he remembers how important this store was for Marion, especially when it was located in the middle of downtown on Main Street.
“I’ve got so many good memories of going to Roses,” he said. “It was the anchor store for Marion.”
Roses in Marion was located first on South Main in the center of the downtown. This location, which is now MACA, is the one that many long-time residents remember with fondness and nostalgia. Numerous older adults remember when they were children and how they would go to the lower level which was where the toys and pets were located. This building also was well known for the good food and cold sodas that could be bought at the snack bar. Roses store was at this location for many years until it moved to the Lady Marian Plaza in the section that is now Fred’s.
In 1987, Roses moved to its third and present location at the Marion City Square.
Margaret Fox worked at the Roses in Marion for more than 50 years and was employed at all three locations. Fox started her job at the Main Street location on Nov. 15, 1951 as a salesperson. She became the store manager in 1990 and retired in July 2002.
When asked what she enjoyed most about her job, she says “Everything.”
“I truly enjoyed my work,” she said.
Fox said she especially enjoyed waiting on the customers in the food and candy department. This existed before the snack bar was installed.
Another long-time employee is Shirley Jimison, who started her work at Roses while she was still in school in the 1950s. Since she was a student, she worked part-time wherever she was needed. She then went full-time in 1957.
“We had good management,” said Jimison. “When we had a sidewalk sale, we had people playing with hula hoops. For Halloween, we’d bring out the popcorn machine and candy for the kids.”
Jimison retired from her work in 2000. As for the remodeling, she said she approves of the new Roses.
“I think it’s looking real great,” said Jimison. “Everything is looking neat and clean.”
Founded in 1915 in Henderson, the Roses chain was purchased by Variety Wholesalers Inc. in 1997. Roses now has approximately 175 stores in 15 states. In 2010, the Roses division of Variety Wholesalers began expanding beyond its original base of stores in the South, opening stores in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana, according to Wikipedia.