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Brothers build their dream in Gratz

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Larry and David Smith saw a way to help community

By John Whitlock

Nearly a year and a half after opening, two brothers’ dream of making life a little easier for their neighbors in Gratz is going strong.
Smitty’s Gas and Food opened in April 2012 and has continued to grow ever since.
Co-owners Larry and David Smith, who live near the store off KY 355, had the idea of opening a store for several years before they decided to do it.
“(Larry) always wanted a store around here,” his brother David Smith said. “He owned the property and we just decided one day we were going to do it.”
With no gas station or convenience stores in Gratz, the need was obvious, David Smith said.
“People have to drive all the way into Owenton just to buy gas,” David Smith said. “That can be a hardship on a lot of folks especially the farmers.”
“News Cafe is here and they have food but we didn’t have anything help us (as farmers) and help other people when they needed something,” Larry Smith said.
Although farmers and farm workers comprise a great deal of their customers, manager Trish Cook said they also try to carry things that anyone might need.
Pointing to one of the shelves containing auto supplies, Cook said the store stocks items that people might need in an emergency.
“We have people coming through from all over,” Cook said. “That’s why we carry so many different things. You never know when someone might need something.”
One of the big ways Smitty’s serves its customers is with hot meals, Cook said..
“We have chicken and pizza every day with fish on Fridays,” Cook said. “We have daily specials and we are always looking for new things to add to the menu.”
The store has also become drawn a lot of popularity with the people around Gratz.
“We are out in the middle of nowhere to a lot of folks, but we get a lot of deer hunters in here,” David Smith said. “We have some people who just come down here to eat and hang out.”
Local folks drive the store’s main business.
“We are real handy for people who just need a loaf of bread or some milk,” David Smith said. “We wanna be a place that people can depend on and enjoy stopping in. We have plenty of tables for people to sit down and eat. We also have a game room for people.”
With the addition of the new Gratz boat ramp, David Smith said he hopes to see even more people come by.
“We are hoping that helps the store out a lot, “ David Smith said. “There will be a lot more people coming through now and we wanna be here for them.”
David Smith said sales are strong and the future of Smitty’s looks bright.
“Oh, business could be better but like most places in this economy, but we are happy with where we are,” David Smith said.
Smitty’s Gas and Food is open seven days a week from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday during the winter.