By Donna Bain
If you’ve ever been to Food Fare in Aliceville, Alabama, you have seen what a large, clean, organized and beautiful store the Hankins family has created for the people of Pickens County.
A.J. Hankins, the first owner of the Aliceville Food Store, retired in Memphis from the Marine Corp in 1970. He came to Aliceville to sharecrop with his brother. Soon his sons came to Pickens County as well.
A.J. Hankins, Gary and Charles Hankins’ father, opened Aliceville Food Store in 1984 in the current location. The Aliceville Food Store was the first retail store to open their doors on Sunday. A.J. Hankins received a lot of flak from the people in the community for opening on Sunday, but it brought in a lot of business. Now, everyone is open on Sunday. The Hankins family sold the store a few years later, and a new store came in called Food Way. Later it became Jitney Jungle and then Winn Dixie.
After selling the grocery store, the Hankins family began farming in the Cochrane area across the river where they grew corn, cotton and soybeans. They also owned a store across the river called Cash and Carry which was a convenience store and a large deli. The Hankins still owned the building that Winn Dixie was in. When Winn Dixie called and said they were closing, the Hankins family decided to go back into the grocery business. They opened Food Fare in Aliceville in 1996. Food Fare is known for selling the first legal beer in Pickens County.
See complete story in the Pickens County Herald.