Kingsley Grocery was of a dying breed in Alberta, found only in small towns. An old building with mismatched shelving, faded linoleum, and chipped paint. It was too warm in the summer and too cold in the winter, which was hell on the perishables. It might be better described as a convenience store than a grocery store. The new Minimart off the highway next to the truck stop was better: newer, bigger, cheaper.
And yet everyone shopped at Kingsley Grocery at least a couple times a month. Most made excuses. They said they stopped for the convenience. Kingsley Grocery was, after all, sandwiched between the bank and the hardware store in the heart of town. They stopped for the home-baked goods. The owner’s wife, Mrs. Wong, sold her rock-hard cookies and dry squares at the counter. They stopped for the quick checkout, although the three tills at the Minimart could hardly be described as busy. They also said they wanted to support small business owners in the community, even if that meant paying five dollars more for a carton of eggs, a gallon of milk, and a loaf of bread, all of which would spoil a week sooner than the same purchases made at the Minimart. Few admitted the real reason everyone chose Kingsley Grocery.
The newspaper rack stood at the end of the counter. On the bottom shelf was the Edmonton Journal, the middle the Edmonton Sun, and the top the Kingsley Inquirer. Alongside the papers was a locked box the size of a dinner roast with ‘Kingsley Inquirer: Advertisment, Submision & Payment’ misspelt on the side. Even Mr. Wong claimed not to know who was behind the Inquirer, but Kingsley Grocery was the only store that sold it.
The Inquirer was the real reason people shopped at Kingsley Grocery.