The end of an era will come to Price on Wednesday at approximately 5:30 p.m. when Guido Rachiele locks the front door of his store, Checkerboard Grocery, for the last time.
"It will be a hard thing to do," said Rachiele as he stood behind his only checkout counter on Monday afternoon. "But things change and life will go on."
No more Coke or Meadow Gold delivery trucks will be parked in the middle of 100 West at 200 South bringing in products.
No more penny candy will be at the store for the youth who come by the business.
There will be no more friendly smiles as customers walk in the door.
The community will no longer know that, no matter what happens in Price, Rachiele will be at his post, one that he has manned for 60 years.
Rachiele bought the store in 1946 with Joe Santi and became the sole owner of the operation a couple of years later when his partner decided to move to California.
After operating all that time at one location, the store is closing.
But it isn't because Rachiele wants to go out of business.
"I have always received my general supplies out of Colorado rather than Salt Lake," pointed out Rachiele. "A couple of months ago, they told me that my volume wasn't high enough for them to continue bringing a truck by."
|Guido Rachiele stands by the empty shelves at Checkerboard Grocery on 100 West and 200 South in Price. Filled with goods for 60 years, the small store is scheduled to close its doors for the last time Wednesday.|
"I tried to make other arrangements, but it just hasn't worked out," continued the longtime store operator. "Then my renewal for my business license came in the mail and I looked at it and thought, 'No use in doing that.'"
So on the last day of January, while his final business license remains in effect, Rachiele will close his store forever.
"This past weekend, I had my kids and grandkids get what was left of all the non-perishable items," stated Rachiele as he walked to the back of the store where once full shelves stick out emptily like the book cliffs that surround Castle Country.
But ever vigilant about the store's small customer base, the retiring businessman talked with the vendor from Meadow Gold Dairy who asked him about what he wants for the next three days.
"I am keeping the milk, bread and other things here until we close, just so my customers can come in and get it if they need it. When I am done the vendors will pick up what is left," said Rachiele.
But despite his sadness, Rachiele isn't bitter. He credits staying in business as long as he has to his very loyal customers and his good local vendors.
"Everyone has tried to help me," noted Rachiele. "The soda pop companies, the dairy, the bread people and Eastern Utah Produce have been wonderful. They even hauled some canned goods down from Salt Lake for me when they could, but it just wasn't going to work."
At one time Price had more than 20 little stores like Rachiele's operating on street corners all over the town. Checkerboard Grocery has been the last small store that has remained open for years.
Now, only the three large supermarkets will serve local consumers.
But for Rachiele, the small business he has operated, hasn't been totally about making a profit.
Operating the store has been about community service and providing a place where people could shop without feeling overwhelmed by blaring television monitors, loud stereophonic music and scads of people running around.
With a radio behind the counter and people talking about politics, Rachiele's friendly smile reflected true concern for every customer's well being.