Oakland Township’s family-owned party store, , is now into its fourth generation of family members working at the store.
With aisles full of munchies, quick meals, pop, beer, liquor, condiments and more, one might naturally assume the market is just the average party store. But its rich history makes it much, much more than that.
Manager of Paint Creek Market Shannon Leinweber, daughter of owners Bo and Karen Acree, grew up tending to the cash register and stocking the shelves of the quaint convenience store. She remembers standing on milk cartons to be able to reach the cash register and still ringing customers up all the same.
She and her sister, Kim Sampson, would holler for their mother or father if someone came through to purchase alcohol, which they weren’t allowed to sell because of their age. Other than that, they were entrusted with helping run the store from a very young age.
“I love it; this is my home,” Leinweber said. “It’s fun.”
The Acrees purchased the store 43 years ago and lived in the apartment attached to the shop’s rear until Leinweber was 17 years old. Leinweber recalls hating that they were leaving behind the convenience of living in the backyard of their business.
Sampson went off to school in Alabama, and Leinweber chose to stay and help tend to the market, later taking over as manager of the store.
Sampson eventually came back to Oakland Township and works at the store doing a lot of the cleaning, because that is what she likes to do, said Leinweber. Her grandmother, Dorothy Acree, 84, puts time in at the shop as well, even though Bo and Karen aren’t as active within the store anymore. Karen does the paperwork, which Leinweber is thankful for.
Dorothy said that everyone calls her "grandma" when they come into the store.
“I like talking to people,” Dorothy said. “I bet 99 percent of the people don’t know my name; they all just call me grandma.”
The history of Paint Creek Market is what still draws a majority of the customers in, and the fact that, as customer Corey Sroka said, it is Oakland Township’s only party store.
“I typically come in for a Diet Mountain Dew, lottery ticket and socialization,” said Sroka, Oakland Township Fire Department's fire prevention coordinator, who has been coming to Paint Creek Market for about 12 years.
Like Sroka, Leinweber said that a majority of their customers are regulars, many having grown up alongside her family. She said that the customers are more like friends to them.
“It’s a family market,” customer Chuck Weaver of Oakland Township said. “The community can always depend on the stability of this place.”
They still get new customers on a fairly regular basis, Leinweber said. The store is busiest around 5 p.m. on weekdays, when people are getting out of work. Business isn’t as consistent as it once was, but she faulted the economy and the fact that there hasn't been much development in the area recently.
Some of the more popular items the store sells are lottery tickets, a pop on the run, one of over a dozen flavors of Arizona Tea they offer and liquor. About two months ago, Paint Creek Market received a license to sell alcohol before noon on Sundays.
Fresh sandwiches, pizza, hot dogs and coffee are always available to customers as well, which many take advantage of.
Leinweber is excited to have her 14-year-old daughter, Kelly, plugging away at the cash register now, representing the fourth generation for the store.
“My daughter is a big help in the summer time,” Leinweber said. “It gives her good math experience and teaches her to work well with people.”