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Behind the Scenes: Peachy’s
March 28, 2012
Peachy’s is the heart of Eaton despite its location on the outskirts of the town. (Of course, it’s a fictitious place, just like Eaton, but figures in nearly all the novels in my Eaton romance series.)
Once a mom-and-pop operation, Peachy’s opened its doors in the early 1840s, first as a feed store. Once it evolved into a general store, the family’s retail instincts kicked into overdrive. Peachy’s serves the community’s needs with its various shops and businesses. During the past century, it evolved to include everything from goldfish to gasoline, and provided services ranging from haircuts to hot tub repairs. By the 21st century, it served the area as a mini mall and its businesses include:
- grocery store
- video rental outlet
- gas station
- hair and beauty salon
- pet store
- chiropractor’s office
- hardware and garden outlet
- second-hand goods store
- coffee shop and cafe
- gun store
- card and gift store
To the uninitiated, Peachy’s has a lackadaisical, patchwork appearance. Generations of the Peachy family have added on to the business, expanding it as their various interests and talents emerged. Some of the owners planned well, but most of the shops and businesses are haphazardly slapped additions to the original building.
During the 1990s, one of those “big box” stores opened on the other side of Eaton, but lasted only a year. After that, a big discount chain moved into the abandoned building. It closed too. There was no competing with the hometown oddity.
Local architect Jack Frey’s master plan is to convert the complex into a mall, adding new blood and new shops to Peachy’s. The former geek spent most of his time in high school hanging around the computer lab and avoiding social events. The only son of Dave and Miranda Peachy Frey, health and fitness nuts who operate the gym at Peachy’s, Jack was an intellectual, preferring math class to athletics.
When he graduated from the local high school, he attended Marshal College (another fictitious place integral to the Eaton romance series), earning degrees in architectural design and civil engineering. His girlfriend is Shirley Piper, a nurse who appears briefly in “West Wind,” caring for the wealthy Rose Windham. His extended Peachy family is indulgent of his plans. They don’t mind his attempt to “citify” Peachy’s, so long as he keeps out of their respective businesses.
In addition to cornering the market on markets, Peachy’s supports Eaton and Chance in a variety of ways. The Peachy family donated the local park and ball field, home of the minor league professional team, the Eaton Peaches. Built in the 1930s, the ball field is an old-fashioned affair with wooden seats and black iron turnstiles. The green outfield fence of “The Peach,” features colorful billboards of various shops at the Peachy complex, as well as local banks, Marshall College and the Eaton Daily News.
One of the most popular selling items at the park is the baseball cap with the ubiquitous Eaton Peaches logo — a baseball-stitched peach with a bite out of it.
Eaton’s claim to fame: former Major League Baseball player Mike Wolfson, retired following a career-ending injury, is the third-base coach for Eaton Peaches. (Mike first appears in “East of Eaton.” Look for Mike to return in his own story, “Last Season.”)
The unofficial “mayor” of The Peach is a town character known as “Krank,” who attends nearly all the baseball games and seems more interested in heckling the players and umpires than watching the game. He is at the center of a rowdy group of fans called the ‘Rotten Peaches’ who also heckle the players.
The Peachy Family
Mac Peachy – Runs the grocery store. Present patriarch, father of Lou and Alvin, grandfather of Cindy and Billy, Mike and Miranda, great grandfather of Mazie and Jack, Jimmy and Shelia.
Alvin Peachy – Operates the second-hand shop. Son of Mac, widowed father of Mike Peachy and Miranda Peachy Frey. Grandfather of Mazie and Jack, and of Shelia and Jimmy. Was married to Gloria Hunter Peachy.
Miranda Peachy and Dave Frey – They run the video store and fitness gym. Sister to Mike.
Mazie Peachy Frey – Owns the pet shop. Daughter of Miranda and Dave, sister of Jack. Mazie’s married to Jerry Cabot, a game commission officer.
Jack Peachy Frey – Architect. Son of Dave and Miranda Peachy Frey, brother of Mazie. Dates Shirley Piper, a nurse at Eaton Hospital.
Mike and Megan Fowler Peachy – Mike works at the grocery store with Grandfather Mac. Megan owns the boutique. Parents of Jimmy and Shelia.
Jimmy Peachy – Area’s chiropractor. Son of Mike and Megan, brother of Shelia. His is married to elementary school teacher Janice Goode Peachy.
Shelia Peachy – Owns the coffee shop and cafe. Daughter of Mike and Megan. Sister of Jimmy. She is engaged to Deputy Neil Boudin.
Lou and Brenda Knott Peachy – Lou runs the gun store. Brenda operates the Hardware, Lawn and Garden Shop. He is the son of Mac, and they are parents of Cindy and Billy.
Cindy Peachy – Owns the gas station. Daughter of Lou and Brenda, sister of Billy. She occasionally dates Alan Reighert, a local banker.
Billy Peachy – Owns the hair salon. Son of Lou and Brenda, brother of Cindy, cousin of Jimmy and Shelia, Jack and Mazie.