I moved to the great state of Iowa 23 years ago. I had just graduated college and landed a production assistant job at CBS-2. I had the job, now I needed to find a place to live. I ended up renting a house in the small little community of Swisher. My career was off and running.

Swisher has a population of just 879 people. I really enjoyed the two years that I lived there. No traffic, friendly people, and the coolest little grocery store in the Midwest.

That little store is called Shelton Grocery. The place is owned and operated by Fred Shelton. Fred opened the store way back in 1969. With the help of his family, Fred has been running Shelton Grocery for over 47 years. It's an "old school" joint with a ton of history. Fred is one of the nicest human beings on the planet. He greets every customer with a smile and it's hard to get out of there without hearing one of his legendary stories.

Photo: Jz

I decided to visit the old place last week on my way home from Iowa City. Fred was sitting on the bench out front as he always does this time of year. We talked for about ten minutes before I went in and purchased my items. I really didn't need anything, but I wanted to see the inside of the store again. It was no surprise to me that not much has changed since my last visit.

I'm sure Fred didn't remember me, but I sure did remember him. He's the same lovable guy that greeted me at the counter some 20 years ago. You can tell he really enjoys what he does.

I grew up in a small town, so I love places like this. It's not Hy-Vee, Fareway or Aldi's. This is a small town grocery store that's family owned and operated. Places like this don't exist anymore......I'm glad to see after all these years that Fred is still in business.

Photo: Jz
Photo: Jim Larson

Walking in Shelton Grocery is like going back in time. It reminds me of shopping with my parents when I was a child. Everything was so much easier and simpler back then. This is a real retro place with a 1980's vibe. I felt like I was back home again.

If you get near Swisher, do me a favor and visit Fred. The address is 65 2nd Street SE. You may not have the selection and choices of a major grocery chain, but you'll hear a great story, enjoy a  laugh, and save about 35% on your grocery bill.

Photo: Jz