Yes, we are here!

At GRIT and MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we have been educating folks about the benefits of self-reliance for 50 years. That includes researching and sourcing the best books and products to help individuals master the skills they need in times like these and beyond. Our online store is open and we are here to answer any questions you might have. Our customer service staff is available Monday through Friday from 8a.m.-5p.m. CDT. We can be reached at 1-866-803-7096 or by email. Stay safe!

The Old-Fashioned Rolling Store

| 6/3/2013 5:50:27 PM

Arkansas GirlRecently, I read an article in a magazine about entrepreneurs who sell their products or services by using catering trucks or mobile businesses - stores on wheels. This type of business is referred to as a new venture for business persons. Perhaps the person who penned that article thinks this is a new twist on selling. When I thought about it for a while, I realized that as the old saying goes, "There's nothing new under the sun." That's when it dawned on me about what we old-timers called the "Rolling Store."

I have no idea when "rolling stores" came into existence, but I can imagine that as far back as humans could "cart" something around to sell, we've had those kinds of mobile stores, even before the wheels came along. At the beginning of time, men, no doubt, walked and carried their wares by hand or on their backs; then, they probably pushed wheel barrows or rode horses, and then they probably graduated to horses/buggies, and then to wagons, to sell whatever they had.

Now, what was the rolling store? It was actually an old pickup truck with a camper- type enclosure on the back and a fold-down tailgate. From what I remember, this man's truck was more than a few years old and looked like it was on "it's last leg," but he made it to where he needed to go. 

To my knowledge, the "Rolling Store" only went to rural areas where housewives couldn't and didn't go into town much. However, when I was a kid, women did travel a bit more than their mothers and grandmothers. Homemakers did go to town, but it was a rare trip and almost always a special treat. So apparently, the mobile store driver went to every house where a road or a trail led him. This was obviously his version of "taking the store to the customer." And from what I saw, he did a good job of finding every nook and cranny where his truck would fit.

You've probably seen some of those old TV shows of the country peddler. He had pots and pans and some of everything else (that he thought country folks needed or wanted). hanging all off his truck

What did he have on his truck? Can't tell you exactly, but I know he had candy, and that was all I cared about.

"Mr. Rolling Store" man came around every so often - how often, I can't tell you that either. All I know is that he would just pop up, and Mother would scurry around the house gathering money to buy something from him. When salesmen came to our house (back then), we felt obligated to buy something from them. Not so much that we needed anything but it was the fact that they brought goods to our doorstep, so to speak, and because they did it for a living, we supported them. And, to me, those are good enough reasons for us to part with our hard-earned money.

Kathy D
2/26/2019 6:28:12 PM

I remember these very well back in the 50's.Mama would always buy us a gallon jar of pickled pigs feet! They were a delicacy to us.She would put up a few cents a week from our cotton picking to buy it with.If I remember correctly,we paid 50 cents a gallon.That was a lot of money back then,as we picked cotton for 2 cents a pound.You could not ever pay me enough to ever walk back into a cotton field ever again! Especially in the heat of the Delta in Mississippi! Kathy D.

Marsha Parker
6/9/2013 6:47:46 PM

My uncle drove a rolling store for Hamricks in Ranger, Ga. when I was young. It was a bus like truck with no windows in the back part. It was dark green with name on the side. All the shelves slanted backward so nothing would slide out while moving. There was always bananas hanging, a roung box with hoop cheese and a big round roll of bologna. Of course we only wanted the penny candy like bb bats, bit-o-honey and kit kats. Great memories.

6/5/2013 3:20:10 PM

, I agree with the statement you made about nothing being new under the sun but I always add to the statement and say, "It just more high tech." I don't remember the pots and pans guy but on occasion the traveling sharpener guy came around. He could sharpen scissors, knives, axes, and any thing else that needed a sharp edge. Still today I see the concept in use with the Swan truck. His wares are mostly frozen food items but they still travel around from home to home even in Urban city areas. Of course, there's always the traveling neighborhood ice cream truck that draws attention to all the kids by ringing the bell. He's like the modern day Pied Piper I've been known to run down a truck just to purchase a bomb pop. Oh, did I just say that out loud. Well, I guess it just brings back some good memories for an old man. So the traveling salesman concept is still alive and well. Have a great rolling store day.

Live The Good Life with GRIT!

Grit JulAug 2016At GRIT, we have a tradition of respecting the land that sustains rural America. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing to GRIT through our automatic renewal savings plan. By paying now with a credit card, you save an additional $6 and get 6 issues of GRIT for only $16.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of GRIT for just $22.95!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters

click me