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Battelles Grocery and catering business to close permanently

CLERMONT COUNTY, Ohio (Rich Jaffe) -- Battelle's Grocery and catering business in Clermont County opened it's door's 37 years ago.

A lightning strike Thursday will close them permanently.   The neighborhood icon is located on Old 74, at Summerside right on the edge of Eastgate.  Fred Battelle says he was planning to retire in a few months  but he never planned on closing his doors like this.

The lightning strike Thursday fried the buildings electrical system and that meant they couldn't keep food cold and obviously couldn't open for business Friday.  Losing this place means losing a significant piece of the fabric of this entire community.

For 37 years Battelle's has been the kind of place that everybody wishes they had in their community.  The kind of place where, you walk in as a stranger for a sandwich and walk out as a friend.  For Fred Battelle, closing the door is tough.

He told us, "Used to being here every day, seeing the same faces every day, literally 7 days a week in some cases. They become more than just customers they become your family."

A lightning strike Thursday destroyed the electrical system here.  The cost, the water damage, all lead to Fred's earlier than expected retirement.

He says, "We watched families grow up and start families of their own.  Adam's a good example, yeah yeah, he was just a little candy grubbing kid when he first started coming in."

That's Local 12's Adam Clements Fred's talking about.  It's a tough day for Fred's wife Linda too.  She's still taking catering orders because everyone here knows disaster or not, their customers are counting on them for a big basketball weekend.

Delivering the bad news to walk ups fell to Fred and Linda's daughter Friday.  At the door she was telling a customer, "We had a small electrical fire yesterday so we're closed indefinitely."

Looking at a box of plaques, brushing the dust off one, Fred said, "West Clermont Elementary Instructional Basketball League.  Yeah we helped them out too."

Battelle's sponsored hundreds of sports teams over the years even when times were tough.  Why?

He explained, "It's our community, we live here, these are our friends...These are our families."

Laura Graber's been doing business here for 25 years.  As he tweaked her cheek playfully, Fred said, "Oh baby oh baby."

She's taking the news pretty hard too, "It's convenient and I love Fred.  He's been here forever.  It's just wonderful, the people, you can't beat it.  The great sandwiches the, it's all just perfect right here."

While the power's out here, Fred, Linda and the crew will be filling those new orders and the ones people previously placed Saturday from 12-5 just down the road at the Mt. Carmel Brewery.  They and other local businesses have donated cooler space.

Fred Battelle says that when the lottery first came to Ohio, his grocery was the only lottery location in the area.  He spent 50 percent of his lottery proceeds every month to sponsor local sports teams.  At one point Battelle's was the sponsor for 11 different teams at the same time.  He says he wanted to help out every day kids.

The one's that, "Just wanted to play the game."

Follow Rich Jaffe on Twitter @rajaffe and LIKE him on Facebook

VIDEO HERE
 

 

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