REECE'S MARKET: A GROCERY STORE

Butcher Counter Cow -- c. 1970s | Reece's Market | Caledonia, Ohio [Marion County] | Nov. 2016 | Photo: Jess L.R.H.

Butcher Counter Cow -- c. 1970s | Reece's Market | Caledonia, Ohio [Marion County] | Nov. 2016 | Photo: Jess L.R.H.

REECE'S MARKET -- CALEDONIA, OHIO

Reece's Market is a heritage community grocery store in the North-Central Ohio village of Caledonia, on the eastern border of Marion County, and on the edge of Morrow County.

The grocery was founded in the 1930's by Warren Reece, who was joined, in the 1950's, by son Jack and wife Velma. Grandsons Teddy and Craig and daughter-in-law Barbara Dickerson joined the grocery in the 1980's. 

At its heyday, Reece's supplied almost everything the community of Caledonia needed -- from pantry staples to baked goods and candies to household items. It featured a fully-functioning deli block and butcher station in back, offering hand-ground hamburger, homemade sausage and Amish cheeses sliced to order.

With Barbara's employment, the store also became a monument to the institution of the country store itself, and collected and displayed local and farther-flung historical and cultural artifacts celebrating rural life in Ohio from decades past. The store also displayed family and community memorabilia, from yearbook photos to sports trophies; and sold handicrafts. 

Reece's Market closed to the public in 2010, following Jack Reece's cancer diagnosis. The building sits empty in downtown Caledonia. Caledonia Northern Folk Studios is working to rehabilitate the building and re-open Reece's Market as a rural arts and ecology center, to teach the listening arts and ecological agriculture as twin modes of community, cultural and ecological resilience for rural Ohio.

The reopened Reece's Market will bring together local folklife, oral history and documentary arts training with sustainable agriculture and ecology organizing; and will host a rural arts- and cultural worker residency upstairs, in Caledonia's historic Knights of Pythias hall. Downstairs, the working space of Reece's Market will be re-energized as a local foods aggregator for Marion and surrounding counties; and as a community-driven exhibition and performance and gallery space. We envision Reece's as a regional and national hub for site-specific, place-driven, community-collaborative public art and humanities initiatives, with deep sensitivity to community sovereignty, local history, and memory. We hope Reece's can be a space that addresses and holds space for the changing realities of rural and post-industrial American life while advocating for social justice and transformative healing in rural community. 

We are currently in our study phase, and are assessing other models for locally-sensitive rural arts, culture, community and organizing spaces housed in former spaces of community labor across the nation; and putting together founding documents to launch the non-profit that will be housed in the Reece's Market space.  We're also saving money to purchase the Reece's Market building -- and trying to convince Grandma Barb that this isn't crazy.  If you're interested in the Reece's Market project and want to help, drop us a line!