Provided by Barbara Aderhold, KCA Director
From the History of Keystone Odessa and Citrus Park Volumes I and II
“From These Beginnings” by Phyllis E. Binder
Back in the 1950’s, on one of the infrequent straight stretches of Gunn Highway, about one mile north of the Citrus Park Bank, a couple lived in a cement block house. They opened a small store in the front part of for the house. They also owned an extremely scruffy bunch of dogs, which roamed about the store, unrestrained.
Now that was a very interesting store! One evening my brother, Don Trumble, stopped in for a loaf of bread, just at feeding time for the dogs. Don watched in amazement, as the owner reached into a pot, pulled out a whole boiled chicken, and tossed it on the floor. The dogs made short work of it.
Mr. & Mrs. Vernon Hanlon bought out the owner, in time, and after a complete renovation, opened their own grocery store.
From that small beginning, evolved The Village Shopping Center, developed by Jim Matheny and Vernon Hanlon, and known as M&H Enterprises.
The original building grew to include a barber shop, run by Ernie Villanueva; Townes Dry Cleaners, and The Village Beauty Mart, operated by Dora Kingery and her sister, Virginia Langlois.
There was a great need for a postal facility in the area, so when the small store front next to the beauty shop became available, the Postal Service opened The Village Station, which was run by Dore & Virginia. It was one of their additional duties to run the flag up every morning, and lower it every night.
By this time Dale Myers was running the grocery store and needed more space for stock, so M&H Enterprises added a new section to the north, to house Myer’s Market (later to become Donald’s Market) and the Village restaurant.
The area vacated by the earlier grocery store was converted into The Country Store, a charming ladies’ wear and gift shop operated by Mrs. Asbury Hendry.
Next, to the south, we soon found a new hardware store and service station. The Hanlon’s ran the station and a fuel delivery service. About 3 years later, they added a large garage, behind the original building. Vernon and his son, Bobby, repaired just about anything on wheels!
Along the way, we have enjoyed quite a variety of stores and services, located at the Village. These include an insurance agency: B&W Carpet Service; craft shop; auto parts store; chiropractor and Citrus Park Florist.
Last, but not least, in the very same building that housed that old dilapidated store, with all those dogs, we now enjoy the thoroughly modern, well stocked Midway Drug Store, owned and operated by Goette Fussell.
When the drug store opened, the postal Substation was moved to new quarter in the store, and remained there, serving the community until the new Post Office was built on Tarpon Road in 1977.