BUCKHANNON – An iconic community center in southern Upshur County – the Rock Cave IGA – has officially been handed down from one Hawkins generation to the next.
Late last year, following the retirement of their parents, longtime IGA owners Glenn and JoAnn Hawkins, the Hawkins’ sons, Dale and Wes Hawkins, took over management and ownership of the Rock Cave IGA in November 2019. They plan to implement some changes, and My Buckhannon recently ventured south to find out what’s new and what will stay the same.
Starting Monday Feb. 24, the Rock Cave IGA began undergoing a store reset that’s being overseen by Darcy Tracey with MDI Merchants Distributors Inc.
“They buy their groceries and produce and meats from us, so we’re their supplier, and a reset is when we come in and we update the store,” Tracey explained. “We bring in some newer products, we pull the discontinued items, clean the shelves up, rearrange a few things and try to pair different things with different sections of the store.”
Owner Dale Hawkins said he and his brother are looking to make several changes to the store with the goal of enhancing customers’ grocery shopping experiences.
“I would say the biggest change is going to be visual,” Hawkins said. “We’re trying to eliminate a lot of the clutter. We’re trying to make it more spacious, and make it more inviting when you walk in.”
Tracey said the reset is currently in the first phase and will most likely be finished by the week’s end.
“We’re just in the beginning stages right now, so we’re opening the store, adding more fresh products to the store … so that’ll be the biggest difference – you’ll see a lot more fresh products for the customers,” Tracey said Monday.
She said MDI rearranged aisles to open up the front part of the store, where coolers containing freshly made sandwiches and salads perfect for lunch on the go will be located.
“The store hasn’t had much of an update for quite a while, and I think in retail you should refresh your look as often as one can,” Hawkins said. “I think in retail, it’s important just to have that fresh look.”
Other changes Hawkins said they plan to enact include installing an updated point-of-sale system for the registers and eliminating one of the office spaces in the front on the store for more sale space.
“My brother and I are putting a lot of different ideas into play,” Hawkins said. “For instance, beginning in March, we’re going to start doing at Senior Citizens Day on Wednesdays with a 10 percent discount if you’re 60 years old or older. We’re kind of looking at our sales for the year and trying to plan out what kind of sale we’re going to have each month and just run some different promotions.”
He said the store will also have a slight hour change on Sundays. Previously open from noon to 5 p.m., now it will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hawkins encouraged people to follow the ‘Rock Cave IGA’ on Facebook to stay up-to-date on sales, new promotions and other changes.
Located at 88 Rock Cave Road at the intersection of Route 4 and Route 20, Rock Cave IGA may be reached by calling 304-924-5296. The store is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.