Saying #039;goodbye#039; to building gives Tiptons closure

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 19, 2004

Tommy Tipton would probably be considered a glass half-full kind of guy.

Saying goodbye last week to the Jefferson Street building that was home to Tipton's Foodland for 69 years was hard for the family, but Tommy said it was made easier by the fact that it will stay a part of Ironton. The popular grocery that was renowned for its baked goods was purchased by local automotive dealer Bob Clyse for an as yet undisclosed use.

For the Tipton family, it has been difficult because the store that was such a large part of their lives. The family talked to a number of potential buyers but co-owner Tommy Tipton said they are happy that it could be sold to a local businessman of Clyse's reputation.

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"We are glad it has been sold locally to someone who can utilize it to help Ironton. That is what is really important," Tommy said. "It has been hard on us driving by and seeing it set there as no benefit to the community, no benefit to anybody."

"We are glad to see something positive come out of this. … This way it is still going to be a piece of Ironton."

Clyse, owner of Bob Clyse Pontiac-GMC Inc., purchased the 19,000 square foot building in a partnership that is separate from his auto dealership though he did say its future will likely have ties to the automotive industry.

Julius Tipton was one of the original founders of the grocery store in 1935. He did not have much to say about the building being sold but did comment that he never expected the store to reopen as a grocery store.

"It is just one of those things," he said. "It is a sign of the changing times.

For nearly all of his 58 years, George Wilson has called Ironton home. He has fond memories of the grocery store going back nearly as far as he can remember.

"Tipton's was part of the community. I can even remember going up to the old Tipton's on Third and Adams as a kid," he said. "You couldn't ask for better people. Opal Tipton was one of the finest people I have ever met."

Rich Patrick, vice president of the Ironton Business Association agreed with the Tipton family that it is positive to see the building keep local ownership.

"It is always nice to see businesses expand and grow. If Clyse bought another building, that means there is some growth," Patrick said. "This should be something the whole community can be excited about. If all Ironton's businesses expand, it should bring in new businesses."