Rolling Store

By: Jason Davis
By: Jason Davis

Before the dawn of the big retail stores and Super Wal-Marts, many folks around the Panhandle relied on what's called a rolling store.

Tommy Young remembers when his dad was one of the most popular people in Jackson County.

From 1939 to 1975, Otto Young operated A rolling store. The vehicle, stocked with merchandise, delivered the world, during a time when the world was not so accessible.

Tommy Young says, "During World War II, no one had any money for gas and second of all they couldn't get. He was given gas rationing tickets so that he can run this store in the country."

The store on wheels provided people with life's essentials, things like sugar and flour. He even sold kerosene lamp oil to folks who didn't have electricity.

Young would drive over 150 miles a day, selling just about anything to anybody.

Kenneth Stoutamire, a Marianna optimist, says, "If people didn't have any money, they'd trade. They'd trade eggs and they'd trade the chickens to get whatever goods that they had to have. It was a god sent blessing to all the people at that particular point in time in history."

Otto Young parked the store in 1975, and it hasn't been moved since, but now the vehicle is getting a makeover.

"Once we get it sand blasted and repainted and primed, it's going to be a shining example of what filled a great need during the forties for a lot of people and the 30s for that matter."

Once it's completed, the Marianna Optimist Club plans to use the rolling store to educate the public about a priceless slice of northwest Florida's history.

You can look for the rolling store display at the Marianna's Educational Recreational Expo in the very near future.


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