November 1, Greg Tucker
In the 1930’s, the popular Lewis Brinkley Grocery on the Square (103 East Side) was run by a second generation grocer and founder of the first local Chamber of Commerce. When it appeared that the store was going to need a fourth bicycle and yet another boy to keep up with the expanding demand for home deliveries, George Lewis Brinkley, Sr. bought a van. On the side he painted “Lewis Brinkley Fancy Groceries, We Aim to Please.”
While in high school, Lewis Brinkley, Jr. frequently drove the van making deliveries. On many nights, however, he covered “Fancy Groceries” with a banner lettered “ORCHESTRA” and hauled instruments and young musicians to dance venues around the county. By 1940 they were playing almost every weekend and were the band of choice for most occasions.
Following World War II the local grocery businesses began leaving the Square and relocating in the expanding residential communities. In or about 1949, Brinkley’s Grocery moved to 1156 East Main (across the intersection from MTSC (ed. present day Middle Tennessee State University)). The pre-existing structure, formerly Bob’s Grocery owned by Bob Bowling, was renovated and reopened as Brinkley’s Fine Foods.
In 1957 the store on East Main was sold to a couple of grocery veterans (Brinkley competitors from the A&P Supermarket chain). The new ownership was announced in 1957 by a “mass mailing” of two-penny postal cards advising neighbors and regular customers that former A&P management had purchased the Brinkley business.