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Grocer lives by golden rule

Third in a six-part series celebrating Women's History Month. Each woman profiled adds a unique perspective on where she lives and works.

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Greetings, good people.

"The golden rule I have tried to live is: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," said Judy Foreman, co-owner of Dave's Market.

The store was started by her father more than 40 years ago. When her parents retired, Foreman and her husband took it over. "About 10 years after Dad and Mom had been running the store they decided they wanted to get out and relax for a change. We've been on this corner 30 years."

During the recent disturbances Dave's Market, 1664 15th Ave. S, was spared the destruction experienced by other business owners. "Our neighbors kept watch over the business for us. They told us later that they saw some activity around the place but were able to run them off," she said.

Last year, a former employee got involved with dealing in food stamps illegally. "Because he worked in our store, we were catapulted into a mess that took months to straighten out," she said. "We finally received a letter from the Department of Agriculture Food and Consumer Service absolving us of any wrongdoing. It was demoralizing to be blamed for someone else's wrongdoing. We've always tried to do business with the utmost of integrity."

Dave's Market is basically a meat market, but Foreman says they try to stock as many other food products as they can because so many people from the community shop there for groceries.

"We are a small mom-and-pop operation and there are so many hidden costs to doing business. However, our customers are important to us, so we try to keep our prices as low as we can but, of course, we can't compete with the large chains. We have a saying at the store: "If you have to smell it, don't sell it.'

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She and husband Dick have been married for 34 years and raised two children. "We're looking forward to having grandchildren one day before too long. But right now our customers are our extended family. I have watched so many of my customers' kids grow up and they now have children of their own."

Soft-spoken and conscientious are two good words to describe Judy Foreman. Kind and friendly fit just as well. "Ninety-eight percent of our customers are the best folks you would ever want to meet. In actuality, I know the people in this neighborhood better than I know the ones in Maximo Harbor, where I've lived for the last 22 years."

"A former employee and a dear, dear friend, Herculas Coleman, who worked with us for years and years, got sick some months back and had to quit. She is sorely missed by me and the customers. This place just doesn't seem the same without her."

It's really hard to describe Judy Foreman's persona without becoming all mushy, but then her customers know what I'm talking about. That's why they keep coming back generation after generation. Harambee!

The Cradle of Wisdom: Some people take kindness for weakness but in the vernacular of the street, what goes around comes around.

You can reach me through TimesLine. Here's how. Using a Touch-Tone phone, call TimesLine at 898-0019; when it answers, punch in category code 8915, then leave your message.

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