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R&R Grocery and Sporting Goods owners kick off their 20th year with a store remodel

HOLLY SCHOLZ/CENTRAL OREGONIAN
 - The Hodnett family is celebrating their 20th year as owners of R&R Grocery and Sporting Goods, a convenience store on Combs Flat Road. Pictured left to right, Karlee Klein, Sid Carter, Tina Hodnett holding her grandson Karter Klein, Louise Carter, Ed Hodnett and Kyle Hodnett.

Somehow, you get the feeling you're walking into a rare Mom and Pop convenience store when you step into R&R Grocery and Sporting Goods.

Maybe it's the great-grandma helping serve up some chicken behind the counter or the toddler giggling as he carries a giant empty box to the back room.

The mom can help you with your lottery purchases, and the dad will sell you a woodcutting permit. Their kids help stock the shelves and ring up your purchase.

Yes, the quick stop at Combs Flat and Lynn Boulevard in Prineville is indeed a locally owned family business.

This year marks Ed and Tina Hodnett's 20th year as R&R Grocery owners, and they've celebrated by sprucing things up and doing some remodeling to the store, which was originally built in the early 1960s.

Van and Mary Ellen Harris opened the convenience store and ran it for a few years before selling it to Ralph and Joan Smith. It became known as Smith's Grocery.

Then Ray and Retha Orem purchased the business and changed the name to R&R Grocery and Sporting Goods, using the first letters of their first names, but also making you think of rest and relaxation. They operated the store for around 25 years before selling it to Chuck and Barb Haring, who had it for about five years.

"When we took over, we decided, we're not going to change the name. We'll just leave it R&R so everybody will know," Ed said, adding that it's been known as R&R Grocery for about 45 years.

Ed grew up a stone's throw away from the store on Lynn Boulevard and remembers when it was being built.

"I remember Mom bringing me over here before the inside of the store was even finished," Ed recalls.

Little did he know that his life would come full circle a few decades later.

Ed graduated from Crook County High School in 1977 and took a job at a local mill, where he worked for 21 years. By then, he and his wife, Tina, had two kids in high school. Tina had worked at the mill for 12 years and was ready for a change.

"She just decided, why don't we get a little store? And this came up for sale, and we cashed out a retirement and here we are," Ed chuckles.

That was mid-February of the year 2000.

These days, Ed's mother and step-father, Louise and Sid Carter, enjoy helping out at the store while also getting to see their kids.

"She comes down every night for a couple hours and keeps us all in line," Tina says fondly of her mother-in-law.

Sid can often be found filling up the beer cooler, where he sometimes gets a visit from little Karter, who is just as comfortable at the store as anywhere.

PHOTO COURTESY OF KYLE HODNETT - Ed Hodnett shows off the fried chicken that R&R Grocery specializes in.
R&R Grocery is perhaps best known for their fried chicken and jo-jos.

Ed, who likes to keep track of such things, checks his notebook, and in 2018, they sold 70,272 pieces of fried chicken and 16,600 pounds of potatoes.

"We do a big chicken volume," Ed said.

His buddy Dave Ashley, who grew up just a couple houses down from him, is now the butcher at Ericksons Thriftway. He cuts up fresh Foster Farms chickens for R&R Grocery.

Aside from their deli, R&R also sells drinks, snacks, a few grocery items, beer, cigarettes and fishing gear – even fresh worms. They also have one-day fishing licenses as well as woodcutting and Christmas tree permits.

"Anybody going up to the canyon or Post/Paulina, they stop in for a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk or whatever, if they don't want to stop in town," Louise said, adding that business picks up in the summertime when people head to the Prineville Reservoir.

Last November, the store was closed the week of Thanksgiving for the remodel. They put in new flooring, all new lights, new paint, all new shelving and new a cash register.

They have three employees, and Ed says they treat them like family, too.

Ed and Tina's son, Kyle, and their daughter, Karlee Klein, the mother of 15-month-old Karter, also work full-time at the store.

"It is fun to get to know people, and you learn a lot of names and hear people's stories," Karlee says.

Ed and Tina know a lot of locals from when they worked at the mill, and they have since turned into regular customers. They are grateful for their patronage over the years that has led to their success.

"We try to be friendly. We advertise we are the friendliest little store in town," Ed says. "A lot of people like to come to the Mom and Pop store."

R&R Grocery and Sporting Goods

Owners: Ed and Tina Hodnett

Address: 940 SE Combs Flat Road, Prineville

Phone: 541-447-7231

Hours: 5 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 7 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday

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