Female Fortitude...Pine Top Market has all-women crew
May 3—It's the store just off West KY 80, what most would consider just another country store.
And while Pine Top Market does fit that description, it is unique in that its staff is comprised of women.
Owned by Roy Morgan but leased out to Barbara Bowling, Pine Top Market has adapted to meet the changing times. Bowling and her late husband Mike took over operations of the store a couple years ago and began making some upgrades to the store. The Bowlings insisted on painting with brighter and more welcoming colors inside.
The white walls are offset with a strategically placed red and blue stripe — the all-American colors that Mike Bowling loved and used in his other two Manchester stores — Mike's Quick Stop and Mike's Tobacco.
His dedication to putting customers first and showing his patriotism has been continued even after his death last year through his widow. In addition to the interior decor, the new gas pumps also sport the red, white and blue that became Bowling's trademark.
Pine Top Market has long been a staple for people in the Colony and Glenview area for gas, kerosene, diesel, drinks and snacks. But the store also offers freshly prepared breakfast and lunch daily as well as "specials" on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.
"We have hamburgers, cheeseburgers, Philly cheesesteaks, hoagies, catfish dinners, chicken dinners, and all kinds of drinks," said Freda Marcum, manager. "We also have propane cylinders, vapes and cigarettes at some of the cheapest prices around."
But what sets this store apart from most is the all-female staff who are instilled from the moment they're hired that customers come first.
"We've all been told that no matter what we're doing, if a customer comes in, we stop what we're doing and go wait on them," Marcum said. "We have all females working here — we do have a couple of men night watchmen, but the rest of us are women. Even our maintenance person is a woman."
That works well for the staff, although there have been some comments about the capabilities of women in business.
"Some people say women can't run a store. We're doing well and business has been good," Marcum added. "We have a good team. These women work hard."
Being part of a team requires the ability to work well with other employees as well as giving satisfactory service to the customers. Cleanliness, Marcum said, is ultimate and numerous visitors have commented favorably about the store's overall appearance.
"We've had inspectors and delivery people come in here and compliment how clean it is," Marcum added. "I've been in stores where the floor is sticky from spills. We make sure the floors and tables where people eat are clean at all times."
That can sometimes be challenging as Pine Top Market has a drink area that offers coffee, cappuccinos, the ever-popular flavored "Freezes" and fountain drinks.
Cleaning, operating the cash register and lottery machine, waiting on customers, stocking, checking the shelves and cooking are all a part of the duties of Pine Top Market staff, and they continue their quest to provide the best possible service to everyone who enters the door.
"Barbara and Mike believe that customers come first and we make sure we do that as best we can," Marcum said. "We're here to help our customers, whether they are a regular or not."