Beloved Wilmore IGA hopes to stay in community for decades to come

Published 9:00 am Friday, October 7, 2022

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By Gillian Stawiszynski

Contributing Writer

Fitch’s IGA, a beloved family-owned grocery store, has been a household name for over 65 years now in the city of Wilmore.

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For Fitch’s 65th annual year of operation, the Wilmore City Council accepted a recommendation by the Wilmore Community Development Board to rename the area just off of East Main Street housing the grocery store to Fitch’s Square. Mayor Harold Rainwater also declared Sept. 25 a day of dedication to Fitch’s Square.

At the ceremony, the Fitch family received a plaque representing a lifetime achievement award from the IGA Corporation, presented by representative Doug Stone.

“It was so nice. It was a real, real honor and all my family was here, with the exception of my older sister. There are six of us [siblings], and five of us were here,” said Leonard Fitch, the current grocery store owner.

Leonard said his five siblings and parents, John and Jesse Fitch, moved to Wilmore strapped for cash in 1956. The family had previously owned an IGA in upstate New York right on Lake Champlain, also known as “The North Country.”

The Fitch family moved down to Wilmore so the children could go to Asbury University, and they’ve been there ever since.

The store has been in operation by the helping hands of four family generations. Leonard is now running Fitch’s IGA with his wife, Emily Fitch. The couple have four children. Two of their children often help their parents run the family business.

“My daughter Stephanie and son Christopher are both involved. Stephanie’s teaching now, and she’s doing a lot of work as well here. And Chris is also. We would like to see [Fitch’s] continue. I think they both would, too,” Fitch said.

With the help of Leonard and Emily Fitch’s adult children, Fitch’s IGA is in Wilmore to stay.

“We appreciate everybody that has supported us and also, you know, we’ve had a lot of people in the community work with us here—a lot of high schoolers and other fine residents. We’ve always been proud of our staff. They are so kind to us,” Fitch said.