Word & Image: Sue Lee, 46 

Owner, Franklin Supermarket

It’s a little better than when I first got here. We still have a lot of ups and downs, ups and downs, ups and downs. This Bottom has too much nightlife.

My son and my dad help with the store. We work six days a week from 10 to 7.

Around here, people who’ve been here a long time, they never tell people to go to the supermarket. They say, “Go to Sue’s place.” I had a new person come in who was opening up a business, who asked: “Do you know where Sue’s place is?” I say, “Right here.” So people say Sue’s, but the name is Franklin Supermarket.

People come in for general things.

[“Wine, wine is the most popular item. Wild Irish Rose,” interjects Jimmy Lee, 28.]

Slab bacon, country meats, smoked meats. They’re hard to find at grocery stores.

Most of my customers are regulars. I try to keep them straight, not let them drink too much and do the right thing. If they need a 5-dollar or 10-dollar credit, I do that. Except for The Market up on 24th Street, I’m the only grocer around. I’m almost like the Shockoe Bottom bank — or Shockoe Bottom mom. Bank, mom, whatever. When people need help, usually they come to me. I look after them. — as told to Brandon Walters

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