SCOTTSBORO, Ala. – The Pikeville Store and Deli in Jackson County is one of the most popular stops in the Tennessee Valley. It suddenly closed last fall and hasn’t reopened. But that will soon change.
Dwayne and Connie Wilkerson own the Pikeville Store. It’s been in Dwayne’s family for years. Just like the intersection where the store stands, the owners have reached a crossroads in their lives. “The store has been here since probably 1906 or 1907,” Dwayne told me.
He remembers when his grandfather ran the store in the 40s. “I was too little,” he said. “I’d get in the way is what I’d do.”
Dwayne and his wife bought it in 1990. “That’s when we started our little journey,” he said. The Pikeville Store has a reputation for good eats. “Cheeseburgers and MoonPie Banana Pudding,” Connie said with a smile. And of course, most people had to have both when they stopped by. “If you could hold both, you had to have both,” Connie said laughing.
Saturdays were often standing room only. They were so busy, they kept the kitchen open until 7 o’clock at night. “There would be an hour and hour and a half wait,” Connie recalls. “I mean, you couldn’t get through this place.”
That changed. Dwayne remembers it like it was yesterday saying, “October the 19th, 2016. We ain’t been back since.”
That was the day they got some of the worst news in their lives.
Their son Jason was going to take over the business when they retired. He found out he had stage four liver cancer.
“We just felt like at that time that we needed to be with Jason,” Connie said. They locked the door and held onto hope. “He didn’t get better,” Connie said. Jason, who was 37, died 10 weeks later. He left behind a wife and two children. “Our lives came to a standstill,” Dwayne said.
There is a time and a season for everything. The Wilkerson’s thought about reopening but just weren’t ready. “When we would come in cleaning, we’d say ‘I’m not used to this being so quiet,’” Connie remembered.
But when they thought they were ready to move forward, they got knocked down again. “I’ve been diagnosed with MS,” Connie told me. She says she’s okay now, but knows there may come a day when that’s not the case.
The diagnosis solidified their decision to sell.
Connie says it was the best thing to do, “And let someone else experience the friendship and the fun that we’ve had all these years.” They’ve made some lifetime memories and friends. “We have friends from near and far,” Connie said. “We were blessed,” Dwayne added. They admit they’ll miss the store but they’ll miss the people more.
They’ll see them again though, and soon.
The coffee will start brewing again. And the familiar sound of Pikeville Store cheeseburgers sizzling on the grill will soon fill the air. Lisa and Scott Berry have bought the business. “We’ll be in and out,” Connie said. They’ll be there to help the Berry’s do whatever they need to make sure Pikeville Store thrives. They plan to open Tuesday, September 12th.
There will be a few slight changes though.
The name will change to the Pikeville Store and Grill. And the menu will be scaled back a little so the cooks can get up to speed in the kitchen. But it will include those delicious cheeseburgers and that mouth-watering MoonPie Banana Pudding. Connie gave the new owners her secret recipe. “That was part of the deal,” Lisa told me with a laugh.
And the hours will change too. Here’s a link to the Pikeville Store and Grill page on Facebook. The new owners will also be posting a menu to tempt everyone’s taste buds.