You can get anything you want
at Bep's Country Store in Newton
By Molly Farmer
April 24, 2006 | NEWTON -- Cold beer, penny candy,
and a fish named Fred are the much loved in-store items
that have helped Bep's Country Market grow since owners
Rebecca Griffin and her husband, Cleon Griffin, purchased
it in December 2001.
The past five years have meant expansion for the family-owned
and operated business which now has three times the
merchandise it did when it opened, Rebecca Griffin said.
One product that has been favored by young and old
alike is penny candy, she said.
"What's funny is when the adults come in," Griffin
said, as they are the customers who get especially excited
about the 1-cent sweet.
Griffin said the products she sells are mostly what
she would want in a store but if multiple customers
request an item, she tries to get it in. She attributes
some of the business's success to trying to keep prices
"Our main attraction is our fish," Griffin said of
the four fish that live in an aquarium near the front
door. Many people call the goldfish Fred, though Griffin
said every child that comes in has a different name
for it. One 5-year-old girl comes in every day to feed
the fish, Griffin said.
Though the original hardwood floors remain, the building
Bep's now occupies has gone through many changes since
its construction in the 1800s. Over the years, the structure
at 10 E. Main St., has been a mercantile, a wood worker's
shop, a social hall and a café.
At one point the east side of the store was removed
and added on to a house down the street. When the store
was later expanded, the floor was built in the opposite
direction with the original floor laying north/south,
and the remodeled portion laying east/west, a peculiarity
still visible today.
Though her son, daughter and husband help out at the
market, "I'm usually here by myself," Griffin said.
"I sleep in Clarkston, I live in here."
The Pennsylvania native said the people of Newton
like to share stories over the old sales counter she
sits behind. Sariah, Griffin's daughter, said some people
come in and talk for long periods of time. Griffin said
the market is a great place to hear about town happenings.
In the back of the store, signs on the cooler state
Bep's has "THE coldest beer in Cache Valley." Griffin
said the signs were made after people left the cooler
doors open, causing the beer to get warm. One customer
disagreed with the claim, however, as he said he likes
his beer almost frozen.
Aside from candy, fish and beer, Bep's offers hand-knitted
hats, homemade necklaces, and even has a coin-operated
pool table in the back.
An area that has expanded significantly since the
store's opening is the number of movie rentals. What
was once a small shelf with about 100 movies on it is
now a room housing over 2,000 VHS tapes and DVDs. Westerns,
drama, comedy and family movies can all be found in
the small room on the south east side of the building.
All rentals are due back the next day, but Griffin said
she doesn't "push too hard," and will accept movies
up until closing time.
Customers who find something they like at Bep's Country
Market can pay via credit card, debit card, cash, check
and a select few who have "proven" to Griffin they'll
pay their tab have charge accounts.
As for the store's name, Griffin said Bep was "my
nickname growing up."