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Battleview Market in Sharpsburg serves locals and tourists

July 26, 2011|By MARIE GILBERT | marieg@herald-mail.com
  • Peggy Myers has owned Battleview Market for 17 years. She added homecooked meals to the lineup of items available at the store on Sharpsburg Pike.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer

SHARPSBURG —
Editor's note: This is the seventh in a series about neighborhood grocery stores.


Family-owned grocery stores used to thrive in small towns across America.

Now, many are ghosts in old business directories.

But in Sharpsburg, where the past looms large, one such store is still keeping the locals happy.

Canned foods line the shelves, milk fills the dairy cooler and cookies, soda and candy satisfy the sweet tooth.

Need fishing supplies? You can buy that, too.

Want a homestyle meal? Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served each day.

This is Battleview Market, appropriately named because of its location.

Civil War history is everywhere.

But it's not the tourists that owner Peggy Myers makes her priority.

"We cater to the hometown customer," she said.

Myers has owned the market for 17 years, purchasing the business from Abbie Draper in February of 1994.

She remembers going into the store when she was younger, never imagining that one day she would own it.

But after almost two decades of working at the nearby Red Byrd Restaurant, the Battleview Market seemed a natural fit.

"I love cooking, love food and did a little bit of everything at the Red Byrd," she said. "I even managed the place for a while. I gained a lot of experience and learned all aspects of the business."

During a visit to the Battleview Market, Myers said she and her husband struck up a conversation with the owner and told the woman if she ever wanted to sell to let them know.

"Six months later, she called us," Myers said.

Originally, the store mainly sold grocery items, as well as beer, subs and sandwiches, Myers said.

But with her food background, Myers decided to add homecooked meals.

"I've now gotten to the point where everything is homemade," she said.

From soups and potato salad to meat loaf and fried chicken, Myers said the menu has been a hit.

"A man, who didn't own a car, once walked 12 miles from Hagerstown to try our omelet," she noted. "And I've had 70-year-old people tell me my slippery pot pie tasted just like their mothers.' Those are high compliments."

Myers also has a customer who travels about 50 miles once a year to buy chicken for a family picnic.

But what the store is most known for, she said, are the hamburgers.

"I buy my beef from a local butcher, and, while it might cost me more, it's the best beef you can find," she said. "I'm very particular with my food. If I don't like it, I won't sell it."

In addition to food, Myers continues the tradition of carrying grocery items.

"I try to focus on hometown needs," she said. "The closest supermarkets are in Shepherdstown, W.Va., and Hagerstown, so I carry items for people who don't want to drive that far for last-minute things that they might need."

Among the items available are boxes of pasta, cereal and cake mix; bottles of cooking oil and salad dressing; cans of soup and vegetables, tea and coffee.

You can also buy shampoo, band aids and aspirin.

And unlike the cookie-cutter supermarket chains, Battleview offers sports licenses and fishing and hunting supplies.

"We're close to the river, so it makes sense," she said.

Myers said the business has become somewhat of a family affair.

"My sisters and my mom helped me out when  I first got started," she said. "And my children have worked here, as well. Even my ex-husband has lent a hand."

Myers said the market has about 20 employees, who she also considers family.

"There can be a lot of turnover in a business like this," she said. "So when I first bought the market, I promised my workers that if they stayed for 10 years, they would get a vacation wherever they wanted to go."

Myers said one employee has gone to California and another went on a cruise.

"I want to keep good workers and this is a way to give them some incentive," she said.

Myers said she likes to keep everybody happy, most of all her customers.

"During the summer, about one-third of our customers are tourists. But I am all about focusing on the loyalty of the hometown residents," she said. "I listen to their needs and appreciate their feedback. We have so many people who are here every day, they have become like family. You know them by name and converse with them about what's going on in their lives."

Among the regulars at the market are Beverly Trovinger and Dick Hardy, who are there every morning for breakfast.

Never mind that they live in Boonsboro.

"We come to socialize with other patrons and to eat good food," Trovinger said. 

While she enjoys the business, Myers said the days can sometimes be long and there are frequent frustrations.

"But if I ever walked away, I don't know what I'd do," she said. "I'd miss the customers, I'd miss the employees. I would miss being at the market."



Battleview Market

5331 Sharpsburg Pike, Sharpsburg

Hours: Summer hours (April through November)

6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday

7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday

Telephone: 301-432-2676

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