Forty-seven years and counting

Photo by Shari Harris
Ruth and Joe Dillard stand by the old cash register that moved with 
the business to its current location in 1972.

By Shari Harris

More than forty-seven years ago, in 1972, Ruth and Frank Triplett, Jr., returned to Licking from St. Louis and bought a little package store across Green Street from where Fergie’s is located (where the previous Senior Center stood). The Triplett’s bought a vacant lot on Hwy. 32, just east of the four-way stop, where only brush and trees stood. By October 1972, they had cleared the lot and constructed a new building, with their licenses transferring to the new building on Halloween. They brought the cash register from the old package store with them during the move and it remains in the store to this day.
The Triplett’s weren’t new to operating a business in Licking. Prior to moving to St. Louis, they had partnered with Frank Triplett, Sr., in the Frosty Treat, before selling it to Dee and Jim Hood. Another business in town they had part interest in over the years was Triplett Furniture, which was operated by Frank Jr.’s sister and was in the brick building where B. McCloy Salon and Spa is presently located.
When constructing the new package store, Frank and Ruth added a residential area in the west end, where they lived until 1990, when they divorced. Ruth bought out Frank Jr.’s interest in the business and she and her current husband, Joe Dillard, continue to operate the store today. Growth of the business required Ruth to remove the internal wall that separated the business from the residence and that area is used to display a greater selection of merchandise for their customers.
Ruth was originally from Salem, but she does not remember any building or business being on the site prior to their building. She reports they did find many square nails when the asphalt was laid in front of the building and has heard there may have been a blacksmith shop at the site at some point. An old photo of the Licking Mill taken when it was in operation shows an open field at the site of the store, with no trees, but this does not exclude the possibility that a business existed there previously.
Triplett Package Store is a full service package store and merchandise includes liquor, ice, lottery and tobacco. They will special order items also, if there is something you are looking for that they may not have in stock. One unique feature of the store is the prices marked on merchandise already has sales tax included, so you know up front exactly what you will be spending. Ruth Dillard reported a benefit of their store as compared to large box stores being the consistency in stock. They strive to continue to offer items as long as they are available, as well as offer a variety of brands. Gift sets are also in stock during the holiday season. The store is open seven days a week, Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. – 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 8 a.m. – 11 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.

When asked if there were any changes in store for the business, Ruth reported that there are no current plans. The business has had gradual expansion over the years and continues to serve its customers’ needs. With a nearly five decade history, Triplett Package Store looks to be around for many more years.



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