Wallstreet Snopes's Grocery Store (Location Key)


Near to the tent where Snopeses live when they first reach Jefferson is the store that serves as the launch point for Wallstreet Panic Snopes' success story - a story that provides an edifying counterpoint to Flem's rise to power and that also reveals the way 20th-century progress comes to Yoknapatawpha. When Wall begins working at this store as a janitor and "afterschool-and-Saturday clerk and errand boy," it is a "grocery store about the same class as the Snopes cafe" (135) - which is to say, a low class. With the money from his father's death, he buys into the store, and becomes the owner when "the old owner died" (152). Wall first rents and then buys "the store next door and converted it into a warehouse, stock room, so he could buy in larger wholesale lots for less money; another few years and he had rented what had been the last livery stable in Jefferson for his warehouse and knocked down the wall between the two stores and now we had in Jefferson the first self-service grocery store we had ever seen, built on the pattern which the big chain grocery stores were to make nation-wide in the purveying of food" (157). (This self-service "pattern" - pioneered by a Piggly-Wiggly store in Memphis in 1923 - is by now very old and familiar: instead of asking a clerk behind a counter for what they want, customers were given direct access to the aisles and shelves.) Wall also adapts retail to the automobile age: "the street his store faced on made an L with the alley where the old Snopes restaurant had been so that the tent in which he had passed his first night in Jefferson was directly behind his store too; he either bought or rented that lot . . . and made a parking lot and so taught the housewives of Jefferson to come to town and seek his bargains and carry them home themselves" (157). Earlier, it was customary for merchants to deliver merchandise to their middle- and upper-class customers.

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Wallstreet Snopes's Grocery Store
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Wallstreet Snopes's Grocery Store