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Rohresville grocery store remains all in the family

August 23, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

ROHRERSVILLE - When Brad Keller opened the doors of the K&M Grocery near here Saturday morning, shoppers got to see the latest chapter in the saga of this family business as it enters its 40th year.

"We have survived all these years because we stock what people will buy," Keller said.

It is that philosophy that made Keller realize the store's small kitchen needed to be enlarged and remodeled to accommodate the current top sellers - submarines, chicken and hot meals to go.

"I grew up in the store. Everybody watched me grow up in the store," Keller said.

There is a picture of Keller, 36, getting his first haircut as a toddler from the since deceased John "Booney" Hamilton, who operated a barbershop for years in part of the building that now houses the expanded kitchen.

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While freshly-made submarines were always part of K&M's more popular items, they have become the biggest draw.

"Chicken is a new thing and it is a very good seller," Keller said.

Starting this fall, breakfast and dinner specials will be offered every day, all on a carry-out basis.

While there have been times when he was close to getting out of the business, there was too much family tradition for that to happen, Keller said.

"A lot of what I do is out of tribute to my granddaddy," he said. "He loved this place. I didn't want to be the one to end it."

The store is at 3406 Chestnut Grove Road - a location that can be described as off the beaten path. It was built in 1965 by Keller's grandparents, Alicia Myers and her late husband, Mervin Myers.

Later, the Myers' daughter, Joan, married Jim Keller and together they took over the operation of the business. All three generations live within walking distance of the store.

So Brad Keller, with the help of his wife, Lisa, and his parents, and with occasional advice from his grandmother, has kept the family business going, adding and subtracting items as necessary for survival.

The first K&M Grocery Kruise-In Saturday was held to introduce the K&M Deli now operating within the store.

Keller arranged giveaways and activities to be held throughout the day.

The remodeling work was accomplished without interrupting the weekday store hours of 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. or Saturday and Sunday hours from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. "We never missed a beat," Keller said.

Store shelves are stocked with soda, beer, cigarettes and the most basic of groceries.

Keller and his wife have four children ranging in age from 5 to 20 years old. As did his grandfather and his father before him, Keller supplements the family income with a second job which, in his case, is as a United Parcel Service employee.

Whether another generation will take over the store from Brad and Lisa Keller remains to be seen.

"Our older kids have worked here. And it was very convenient for me when they were younger and I could always bring them to work with me," Lisa Keller said.




Directions:From Md. 67, go about five miles to the sign for Chestnut Grove Park (Main Street in Rohrersville), turn right and then right again on Millbrook Road. Turn right on Trego Road and then left on Chestnut Grove Road. The store is on the right.

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