The Country Store in Union gets first Black owners

Photo above shows Milton Merritt in Roll Tide shirt, Jerrie Merritt in green shirt next to her parents Eloise and Howard Crawford. They are surrounded by family and friends.

Saturday, March 16, 2019, marked the grand opening by the new owners of The Country Store in Union, AL. Jerrie and Milton Merritt are currently the proud owners of The Country Store, formerly Parrish Grocery, located at the intersection of County Roads 191 and 208 in Union.
The Merritts are originally from Greene County, but now live in Los Vegas, NV. According to Jerrie Merritt, the Parrish family had been seeking a buyer for the grocery store for some time and finally got the interest of her and her husband, Milton Merritt.
The Merritts aren’t planning to re-locate to Union at this time to run the store, instead, Jerrie Merritt’s parents, Eloise and Howard Crawford, will operate The Country Store of Union.
The Country Store has had several owners/operators in the last 100 plus years. Various records, as well as community oral history, indicate that in the early 1900’s, the Miller’s family owned that store, which was one of three retail stores in Union at that time. Apparently Union was a bustling commerce center during that period with a flour mill, a cotton gin, a sawmill, a grist mill and a blacksmith shop.
Following the Miller’s, subsequent owners of The Grocery Store were Ernest Friday, Douglas Story, Duck Drummond and Mike Parrish.
The Merritts are the first African Americans to own and operate The Grocery Store.
Saturday’s grand opening of the store also included a birthday celebration for Mrs. Eloise Crawford, Jerrie Merritt’s mother.

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