COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. — In what many are calling a harrowing display of dedication and brand loyalty, Short Pump resident Martha DeFord, 54, is expected to refer to Publix as “Ukrop’s” even after the upcoming switch-over.
Witnesses report that since Ukrop’s was sold to Martin’s Food Market in 2009, the second-grade teacher has said things like “I’m probably just going to stop by Ukrop’s and get a rotisserie chicken for dinner” and “I usually go to the CVS next to Ukrop’s for my prescriptions.”
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According to friends and family, her main point was that Ukrop’s was and always will be the only grocery store true to Virginia’s tradition of southern hospitality. DeFord’s daughter Amelia commented on her actions in a recent interview.
“The switch to Martin’s didn’t stop my mom from calling it Ukrop’s, and I highly doubt the switch to Publix will either,” she explained, clearly frustrated. “To tell you the truth, I’m not even sure if she does this because of her sense of loyalty and tradition or if it’s because she’s not aware that there has been a change at all. Maybe she’s still attached to the way that Ukrop’s employees would always push her groceries out to her car.”
Amelia went on to remark that despite her mother consistently using the wrong name, no one in her family has corrected her.
“None of us have ever had the heart to tell her Ukrop’s isn’t around any longer. It’s not like we don’t know what store she’s talking about, anyway.”
DeFord’s students have noticed similar remarks, such as when she told them that she’d be picking up something from “Ukrop’s” for their end-of-the-school-year class party. Many claimed that they had no idea what she was talking about and speculated that perhaps “Ukrop’s” was grown-up slang for “grocery store.”
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