Pamey’s Market in Shipman approaches one-year anniversary
By JORDAN GRUCZA
Enquirer Democrat Reporter
Macoupin residents everywhere are familiar with Pamey’s Chill-N-Grill, a small business serving American fare which had its beginnings in Shipman. With Pam Allen, owner of the establishment, has come along way since then, opening Pamey’s Market in September of last year and a drive-thru Chill-N-Grill in Benld, with another set to open August 5 in Gillespie.
In fact, she recently had a bittersweet good-bye to these beginnings.
“I always called it the little red barn,” Allen said, referring to the first Chill-N-Grill. “I made it into a kitchen and had it for three years. That’s how I bought Benld, then Gillespie and then the market. I just sold it and watched it get driven down the road.”
Pamey’s Market in Shipman is owned by Pam, with her sister Theresa Prather managing and two employees under them, daughter Julie Cunningham and the recently-hired Nicole Huber, a distant cousin of Julie’s.
“When we first started out we had a beer cooler, one soda machine and Little Debbie snacks,” said Prather. “A couple kinds of cigarettes and bags of chips. That was it.”
One year later, Pamey’s now offers TJ’s Pizza from St. Louis, for carry out or frozen, a Coca-Cola fountain, FEMA sandwiches from Benld, poker machines and basic groceries.
With the August opening of the new Chill-N-Grill in Gillespie, which will occupy the former location of Fat Daddy’s Barbecue, Prather will be moving to manage that location there while Cunningham will take over management of the market in Shipman. At this time, the market only occupies a portion of the building.
“I’m hoping one day to add a restaurant and bar,” Allen said.
After less than a year of business, Pamey’s already has its regulars.
“We have coffee drinkers every morning,” said Prather. “They’re all retirees in Shipman. We’ve got a coffee table set up for them and they give us donations. We don’t make them pay for the coffee. Their donations are how we buy the coffee back for them. And we had coffee mugs made with each of their names on them.”
The Pamey’s staff has formed a special bond with these customers, who include a retired principal, farmer and refinery worker.
“If one gets sick or in the hospital, we’re here to support them,” Prather said. “When one of them was having open heart surgery Pam sent them a card and bought him a wreath.”
Allen states that there is a customer appreciation day in the works, with a date to be announced in the future.
Allen would also like to thank Shipman and its surrounding communities like Brighton and Gillespie for their participation in the business and helping it grow.
“Anyone who travels this road and stops in, really,” said Cunningham.
“It’s hard to open a business,” said Allen. “We wouldn’t be open if it wasn’t for them.”
From left, Nicole Huber, owner Pam Allen, Julie Cunningham and manager Theresa Prather. Prather will be moving to the Chill-N-Grill opening in Gillespie on August 5 while Cunningham will take over managing the market. Enquirer Democrat photo by Jordan Grucza
Seating, coffee and carry-out pizza from TJ’s in St. Louis are available. Enquirer Democrat photo by Jordan Grucza
Pamey’s Market will reach its one-year anniversary in September. Pam Allen began her business with a small kitchen in Shipman. Enquirer Democrat photo by Jordan Grucza