I Am Local 6: Arlington store supplies town for almost 120 years

We see businesses come and go, but not this store. It’s been up and running almost 120 years, supplying a local town with their groceries and appliances. 

You can’t drive through the small town of Arlington, Kentucky without driving by Hockers. Run by Robert Hocker and staffed by five generations of family, it supplies the people of Arlington with groceries and appliances. 

"I doubt if you would find any store that did grocery and appliance," Hocker said.

The idea sounds funny, but long-time customers like 99-year-old Dorothy Nell Harper don’t know any different.

"It’s been here a lot of generations, a lot of people have raised their children on the contents of this store," Harper said.

Hocker’s grandfather and his grandfather’s brother-in-law opened the store in 1897.

The store was originally located down the street from the current location in the first floor the Victor Hotel.

"My grandfather and his brother-in-law rented one half of that, and that was the beginning of Hocker’s," Hocker said.

The hotel’s former location is now used as the store’s warehouse. Hocker’s grandfather bought the second location in the late 1920’s, and from there it kept expanding.

"We started out as an old general store, and it just kind of grew into some different niches, especially with the appliances," Hocker said.

Through the years, Hocker has kept all of the family store’s records, pictures, and anything to remind him of its history.

Edith Whitlow has worked behind the counter and around town installing appliances since she was 21 years old, and she and just retired in May.

"You take 71 years out of 91, and that’s, it’s your life and they’re family. That’s the way I consider my life. They’re family," Whitlow said.

"It means everything. I enjoy it," Hocker added.

More than 119 years in business, and the customers keep coming back.

The store has a hall-of-fame featuring news articles and pictures of people and events around the area. When Local 6 interviewed Harper about being a long-time customer at the store, she shared her story of how she made the hall-of-fame. Her basketball team’s picture hangs on the wall for winning a game.The teams were tied, and Harper threw the winning shot. 

We’ve included her account in a video above this story. 

Do you have a story you think could be featured on I Am Local 6? We want to hear about it. Email newstip@wpsdlocal6.com. You can also let us know on facebook and twitter.

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