It all started in the 1950s, when Herbert Ramey Sr. bought two school buses and converted them into grocery stores on wheels to sell goods from his marketplace in rural parts of Wayne County. From that idea came Ramey’s Grocery and Grill, which for decades has been a go-to stop for the Beat Four Community and those passing through to find food, fuel and a few familiar faces.
Everyone knows everyone in Beat Four, and that’s on display at Ramey’s, or as many call it, “Beat Four Store.” The friendships built between employees and customers has played a large part in making the small business a staple of the community.
“They know who I am and what I want as soon as they hear my name on the phone,” said Eli Smith, who recently returned home from active duty in the National Guard. “I just say, ‘Hey, it’s Eli,’ and whoever is taking the order will say, ‘All right, we’ll get you fixed up!’”
It also helps that the food is a hit, and always has been. Generations of students from Beat Four Elementary share memories of starting or ending school days with biscuits, burgers, chicken, pizza and wings from the old, white store across the street.
“Every day after school, I’d stop here and get popcorn chicken and fries before baseball practice,” Jose Paz said. “Helped me make a lot of friends on the team, too.”
When stopping in, most locals can count on running into a friend. Many stop by regularly to read the Leader-Call and share conversations over cups of coffee or a meal from the grill. That’s why additional seating was recently added.
Though the world around it keeps changing, Ramey’s Grocery and Grill still serves its customers with the same small-town hospitality that helped get it off the ground — on wheels — when its journey first began.