Christmas At The UDF Convenience Store
Try Something New On Christmas Or New Year's
If you celebrate this holiday and are alone on Christmas Day or for part of it, the day and evening can be troublesome, even lonely or boring.
You may be missing family and friends across the miles, thinking of past Christmases, or unable to book a flight to a holiday gathering. Still, places to go present themselves, even if just for an hour or two. It may be a day to try something new.
Plenty Of Time To Look Around
Some cities like mine have options for the single person alone on a holiday, but the streets are still nearly vacant and the shops dark and empty, except for those that leave their decorative twinkling lights switched on.
This makes a good day for window shopping without the distraction of open retailers that draw you in to spend money. By the time you have visited two or three stores, you are ready to go home. But today, you can walk down the block and see what is there at your leisure. There may be a shop, gallery, or small art museum you have not noticed before.
Some business districts are so busy during the November - December rush that one does not have the time to really look at the shops and see what is on the street. Parking is usually full - not a meter or a car park space to spare. Not so on Christmas Day! You'll have parking lots empty and parking meters free on the holiday.
A Place To Visit And Talk
In America's past, people gathered at the local town's general store to talk, play checkers, and enjoy companionship. Today's equivalent is the Convenience Store and some of these shops have hot and cold food and a small dining area waiting for passersby, even on Christmas and New Year's.
What's Open On Christmas?
Going against the grain of American business practices, most places are closed on Christmas Day, at least in my city of over a million people.
Early in the morning, a few bars are open and some serve breakfast on Christmas, but Waffle Houses are open the entire day and evening. Other restaurants are closed, except for 20 larger, more expensive places and area McDonald's stores. Even 24-hour laundromats are closed.
Starbucks is open until 6:00 pm, but Tim Horton's and Panera shops are all closed. All the lines were long at all the Starbucks' drive-thrus I passed this year. Drive Thru beer stores were open, too.
Everyone here is always fun, friendly, and helpful. They may not know my name, and I don't always remember theirs but I always get a smile and usually share a laugh.— Laura F. of Erlanger KY, on YELP.com about UDF
Brightly Lit Gathering Places
A few tiny urban markets with barred windows on dim street corners are open on this holiday. Beer drive-thrus are open as well.
Independent neighborhood convenience stores look a bit seedy, but some of them are open, along with some gas stations and their cafes with bad coffee. Speedway is not bad, better than BP Duchess cafes.
The brightest spots in the city this year were two United Dairy Farmer shops with brightly lit cafes and large food service areas. The shop in the northeast part of town had gasoline at the cheapest price in the market area and its cafe was full of people talking over coffee. The shop across from the university campus had no gasoline pumps, but was full of people talking and reading, and enjoying food and drinks -- It was only a few doors south of the open Waffle House, which was nearly empty.
I visited these two happy shops after strolling through the life sized nativity at Christmas Corner downtown, sponsored by State Auto Mutual Insurance since 1931. It has grown to cover nearly 1/2 a square block, complete with Christmas carols to back up the scenes of shepherds and sheep, wise men and new-born King, angels, stars, and more. Dozens of trees were covered with multicolored twinkle lights at night and white spot lights bathed each scene as well as story boards.
It was a good day.
A Clean Well-Lighted Place
A well liked short story by Ernest Hemingway is entitled "A Clean Well-Lighted Place", written in 1933. It is about a lonely old man who finds that the cafe is the opposite of his feeling of nothingness. Read the full text at http://www.mrbauld.com/hemclean.html.
The New General Store
Even the holiday and ChristMas Store in Frankenmuth, Michigan closes four days a year, but not United Dairy Farmers stores. They ever close, are brightly lit and use bright colors in their decor and displays. Each has a small grocery department with cold cases and shelves of foods, some fruits, automobile needs, hot and cold foods to eat, hot and cold drinks, snacks, hand-dipped and packaged ice cream, and several other items.
At the UDF Store, 24/7/365Click thumbnail to view full-size
The only way the old man can deal with his despair now is to sit for hours in a clean, well-lit café.— Ernest Hemingway, from his short story.
Alone For Christmas Or New Year's? - Go To the UDF.
Convenience Stores Increase In Number
UDF is headquartered in Cincinnati OH and operates stores known best for their ice cream, donuts, hot sandwiches, coffee bar, and giant cold drink station. The addition of of seating had led to mass popularity in the state. Other chains that began in Ohio moved to Japan and other Asian nations - like Lawson's, with nearly 12,000 stores. The iconic 7-11 moved its HQ to Japan as well and now supports over 59,000 stores.
Bright Spots Open 24/7 On Christmas Day - I Visited Two
United Dairy Farmers began as a milk delivery and ice cream production company, but now has 200 stores in three US States: Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky - The Tri-State Area of the Ohio River.
A True Story Of A Convenience Store In Brooklyn
Ben Ryder Howe was a struggling senior editor at the "Paris Review" when his high-paid attorney wife bought her Korean parents a convenience store. Ben helped run it and lived in the in-laws' basement for while in this funny true story about hard work and the world of convenience stores and the quirky people who go there.
A Variety Of Attractions At UDFClick thumbnail to view full-size
© 2015 Patty Inglish
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