By Annie Fulgenzi
The late Henry Humphrey once traveled hundreds of miles across the country to acquire the delicious fruits and vegetables sold at the family store. On June 13, the hand-painted side of the semitrailer he once drove found its permanent home, hanging outside the historic business.
Humphrey’s Market, located at 1821 S. 15th St., is the oldest independent grocery store in town, providing goods for Springfield dinner-tables since 1932.
Hope Humphrey-Walker is the third generation to own the business. She remembers her father’s trips all over the country to pick up the store’s seasonal fruits and vegetables. To her, the new sign installation is deeply sentimental.
“I’m overwhelmed with just a sense of pride. It’s honoring my family and all of the hard work that they did to get us to this point. It’s a daily struggle, but to be able to do this and see the community support just lets you know you’re going in the right direction,” said Humphrey-Walker.
Watching Ace Sign Co. raise the newly restored sign has been impactful on the community as well. Grant Bradley, the general manager at Humphrey’s Market, says customers have been pouring into the shop sharing memories the artifact has brought back.
“One of the guys said he’s lived down the street his whole life and remembers playing outside when Henry would get home from a long trip on Sunday morning and honk the horn as he came by,” said Bradley. “I think it’s touched a lot of local people on the southeast side that have been coming here for the last 70-plus years.”
Humphrey’s Market has a rich legacy in Springfield, and it’s one Humphrey-Walker hopes to see live on.
“We have deep roots on this side of town. The neighborhood has been wonderful to us. It’s our mission to continue our family tradition of serving people with a warm, friendly atmosphere and all they could possibly need to make a wonderful family dinner,” said Humphrey-Walker.