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COOLIDGE -- For Beth Shope Pineda, growing up in the grocery store industry was all about family and all about people.

“I remember our parents and grandparents working at the store, and even as children, we spent much of our time at the grocery store, whether it was our store on Main Street, which was across the street from our childhood home, or our store on South Arizona Boulevard,” Pineda said. “Sometimes we were there just to hang out and other times we were there to work, but it’s where we spent a lot of our family time growing up.”

Pineda’s brother, Tom Shope, is the current president of the business started by their parents, Shope’s IGA.

“I remember my brother Tom, my three sisters and myself, plus two of my aunts, all working at the store alongside my parents and my grandfather. It was definitely a family affair,” she said.

Over the years, children in the family have worked in the store, although many have moved on to other careers.

“At this time, Tom and I, and my husband Fred, are the only family members actively working at the store,” she said.

Among the things she enjoys about working in the industry is the people, including the store’s vendors, employees and customers.

“You have to like people to work in the grocery business. It’s so fun when I’m working in an aisle and I meet somebody new who has just moved to the area, or I visit with a customer who has shopped here since I was a child. It’s all about the people,” she said.

Among her favorite items sold at Shope’s IGA are the handmade red, green chili and bean burritos sold in the Deli/Bakery section. Chicken gizzards are also a customer favorite.

Cakes, including the store’s image cakes, are also a favorite.

“Our homemade chorizo is delicious, and our seasoned meats are customer favorites,” she said.

Shope’s IGA is also a source for Hatch chiles. The store roasts them for customers.

“We have delicious flour tortillas free of preservatives, and a big customer favorite is our Shope’s labeled spices — great quality and great price,” Pineda said.

Other special items found at the store are:

  • Raw milk from grass-fed cows sold through Green Pastures,
  • Desert Oasis Family Farm local farm eggs, from free-range
  • an non-GMO chickens.
  • Raw honey
  • Local jams, jellies and salsas
  • Locally grown tepary beans and other products from Ramona Farms.

A love of the food sold at Shope’s led to a favorite family recipe, Southwest Chicken Skillet. The recipe was discovered on the back of a package of Food Club Monterey Jack shredded cheese sold at the store.

“Food Club is one of our store brands,” Pineda said.

“Because I make extra sauce, I usually serve over rice or quinoa, and for a healthier choice, it’s great over riced cauliflower,” Pineda said. PW

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Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at mstaude@pinalcentral.com.

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