Pechin's supermarket is hard to explain to anyone who has never been there. Most of us occasionally refer to two separate versions of Pechin's: Old Pechin's or New Pechin's, although New Pechin's has been around for just long enough now that Old Pechin's is pure nostalgia. Plus it burned down after the move. Old Pechin's was in Dunbar, with outdoor stores, a bad parking lot, and a leaky roof. New Pechin's is right along 119 in a Shop 'N' Save that didn't last and is in better condition, but is just as crowded and cheap as ever.
The prices are mainly what makes the store's reputation, and are probably why it's always busy. Fayette County has plenty of grocery stores, including at least two Wal-Marts, but no one can beat Pechin's. In fact, because of their prices, Pechin's made the front page of the Wall Street Journal in 1984 (the text of the article is here) and the National Enquirer - three times, for having 19-cent hamburgers, although I can't find the original articles.
Pechin's prices are also important to note because as of 2008, Fayette County's poverty rate was considered critical, at 16.9%. And it's common knowledge for residents that the beginning of each months means welfare and Social Security checks are out, and businesses are extremely crowded - which is also mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article. It's a pretty sad fact of life here when you think about it, but most of us are so used to it that we don't. Which is also sad.
But there is more to Pechin's than that. Like their amazing cakes, and the very interesting stories and nearly daily texts I get from a friend of mine who works there. Lately she's been complaining about the country music constantly playing in the store, but yesterday was her last day for the semester. So for a little while, she's free, but my days are a little less bright now.
Luckily, I save the best texts. Like the one a few summers ago about a man who noticed her peace sign tattoo, motioned to his own, called her a "fellow child of peace," told her to "keep rolling on with it, 'cause before you know your day has floated past and you're on a new one" and left her by saying, "Keep on spreading the peace."
Actually, things like that are pretty rare here.