Editor’s Note: This is the 316th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON — Today, Glenn Queen’s son Mike is a Baptist minister in Wilmington, North Carolina. As a young man, he worked closely with his father at the Tradewell Supermarkets his father owned and operated.
Here’s how he recalls the history of those stores:
“In 1945, Dad bought the ABC Food Market in Wayne, where our family grew up. In 1958 he and Roy Gibson, who had a Tradewell on 8th Street, partnered in opening a second Tradewell, located on Camden Road just over the Cabell/Wayne county line.
“After three months they were losing money fast. Mr. Gibson wanted to close the store and cut their losses. Dad had put everything he had into that store and couldn’t walk away. So Mr. Gibson kept his 8th Street store and dad became sole owner of the Camden Road store. They managed to remain good friends.
“Dad opened the store at 6 a.m. and closed at 11 p.m. seven days a week. He also had to drive to and from Wayne each day. I don’t know how he did that. By 1961 he was doing well enough to double the size of the store. It was then that he sold the store in Wayne and moved our family to Huntington.
“When I graduated from college, Dad still just had the one Tradewell store. David Hatton had one in Kenova, Bill Wagoner had one in Barboursville, and Jack Booten had one in Huntington.
“Dad and I decided to grow the company. We opened a store at 5th St. West next to Colonial Lanes, one at Eastern Heights on Route 60 East and one on 16th Street (Hal Greer Boulevard) next to the hospital. We also had four stores in Portsmouth, Ohio. I left for seminary in 1978, and Dad never opened another store. He ran them the next ten years before selling the company. Most of the stores closed shortly after that.”