Mrs. Deere opts to reopen business

Published 5:00 am Friday, June 11, 2004

A popular stop for industrial park employees and sports complexvisitors is back in business.

Airport Pik & Pak at the intersection of Old Highway 51 andIndustrial Park Road reopened Monday, said owner Shirley Deere.Deere and her husband John, who was killed in an early morningrobbery at the store Jan. 16, operated the business together since1995.

“I decided to open it back up and run it myself,” Deere saidWednesday afternoon near the end of a shortened work day. “Idecided to go back to my job.”

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Previously, the store was open from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondaythrough Saturday. Now, Deere said, store hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

“I’ve cut the hours back a lot,” Deere said.

Deere said her sister, Faye Smith, is also helping out at thestore. Deere said business is picking back up.

“It’s been a little busier than I was expecting,” she said.”It’s like anything else, some days are busier and some days areslower.”

Deere did not wish to discuss the investigation or the arrestmade in connection with her husband’s death.

“The sheriff’s department is handling it and they’re doing agood job,” Deere said.

Kenneth Baggett Jr., 22, of 2471 Lake Lincoln Dr., has beencharged with capital murder in the incident. He remained in jailThursday awaiting a preliminary hearing.

Baggett has maintained his innocence and told his attorney hewas not at the scene.

Investigators said other arrests are possible in the case.Sheriff Wiley Calcote said Wednesday that no others had beenmade.

Deere said she appreciated all the support she has received fromcustomers and others in the community.

“Everybody’s been extremely kind and very supportive,” Deeresaid. “They seem to be happy I’m back.”

Customer David “Matt” Martin, 22, confirmed Deere’s beliefs.Martin, who works at a local construction company, said he hastried to stop in to get a drink every afternoon since the storereopened.

“I was thrilled to learn that she reopened,” Martin said.

Martin, who attends Clear Branch Baptist Church with Deere, saidthe store was “the friendliest place.” He said many churchgoers andothers in the community would stop by on their way to work orcoming home.

“We’ve talked about how we missed it when it was closed,” Martinsaid.

Martin said he had heard some talk that Deere would sell thestore. Deere, though, said she opted against that plan.

“It just didn’t feel right,” Deere said about possibly sellingthe store.