I got a text from my friend Mike yesterday telling me this place was going out of business. I decided I needed to get down there this morning and take a few shots. I’d been by here for one of my favorite pictures a few years back, before they painted the sign. You know how I love old signs… I parked on the street, took a couple shots, then stepped inside to make a last purchase.
This is the kind of place that you can never get back after it’s gone. It has a patina and feel about it that can’t be replicated without existing in one place forever. It’s the kind of place where you can sit at the front counter, have a cup of coffee, and talk with the staff or the regulars and no one is going to rush you off. There’s years of elbow grease coating the counter and there are stools that you couldn’t buy today even if you wanted to. Behind the counter are rows of shelves with bins holding every kind of bit and bob. There’s an old Coke machine right by the front door, chugging away, with a water fountain running off the cooler.
After talking with the people at the front counter, I found out Pioneer Mercantile had been in business for 128 years. After the owner passed away a couple years ago, the family decided they didn’t want to hassle with the business anymore. Say goodbye to another piece of Bakersfield history.