1890 – 1940S
Spires Market has been family-owned and family-run since 1890. The original Spires store was opened in Midway by the newly-married George W. and Zona Spires, who had just travelled from South Carolina with a wagon full of supplies. Back then, our market was more of a general store that stocked fabric, farming and horse supplies, and other household sundries. In 1923, when the railway bypassed Midway for Lake Butler five miles down the road, the Spires family packed up for Lake Butler and set the store up right beside the railroad. That lot is where our store sits to this day.
This new location was perfect – the train would stop right in front of our store, pick up the grocery order, and bring back the supplies within the week. The whole scene was something you might see in a movie. Families would ride up by horse and buggy and tie them up outside the door. Farmers would even come to town and barter their eggs and chickens for groceries, and the store would keep them in a pen outside to sell dressed or undressed.
1940 – 1972
Over the years, Spires General Store evolved into Spires Grocery Store, selling more and more grocery items as the needs of a growing town changed. In the early 1940s, Fernie and Willie Mae Spires took over our store, continuing the family tradition of providing for the needs of the community. Clothing, work boots, fabric, patterns, notions – whatever was needed, we provided. Later on, in 1961, Spires Grocery Store became an IGA (Independent Grocers Alliance) store, becoming a small, independent part of one of the world’s largest international retailers.
1972 – 2010
In 1972, Tommy and Nancy Spires began managing our store after he left his coaching position in Ocala. Tommy saw the needs of a changing community and shut down the dry goods department and expanded a full line of groceries, even adding a large sit-down deli. Then in 1990, as the Spires family was celebrating the store’s 100-year milestone, tragedy struck – a trash bin in the back of the store caught fire and burned the entire building to the ground. Concerned for the local community who struggled to get by without a grocery store in town, Tommy quickly rebuilt a bigger and better one in the same location. The new 12,000 sq. ft. store included a deli, bakery, and an even larger grocery area.
2010 – TODAY
In 2010, Mike and Sharlene Spires took the reigns of our store, and have been working there to provide for the needs of the community to this day. They expanded the produce department to more than double its previous size, introducing more locally grown and organic produce in an effort to support local farmers and healthy families. They hired local bakers and cake decorators to make treats both celebratory and everyday. A large farm-style table replaced the cafe tables and chairs in the deli – a perfect complement for a town that loves to socialize with each other. No need to change what’s perfect, though; the meat department has remained full-service and staffed with well-trained butchers that know how to cater to their customers.
For four generations, this family has done just that; catered to our customers – a trend we hope will continue to the next generation.