CIRCLEVILLE - A pair of art students from Teays Valley High School recently pitched in to help brighten up a southside neighborhood.
Sienna Titler and Alexandra Virostko took on the challenge of creating a mural at the Discount Grocery Outlet on South Pickaway Street to reflect the mission of the store in the community, according to owner Susan Armstrong.
"We were able to make a connection with Cheryl Cherry, the Teays Valley High School art teacher, who said she had two students she thought would be perfect for the job," Armstrong said. "I thought maybe it was too big of a project for two young people, but they didn't think that at all. They stepped right up to bat."
The mural, just recently completed, uses panels over existing windows in the building at 900 S. Pickaway St. near the railroad tracks to create storefront scenes for various products sold inside the store. Each storefront, including a produce market, a butcher shop, a snack and candy shop and more, features fun little details Armstrong said they hope to expand upon in the future.
The snack and candy shop, for instance, features a bag of Circleville's own Dean's Potato Chips.
"Dean's Potato Chips used to be in this building," Armstrong said. "I wanted to make sure we included that in the mural out of respect for where it was, how well-loved Dean's Potato Chips were and how remembered they are."
Another feature of the mural is the figure of a man, whom Armstrong said is her father, now retired, who started the Discount Grocery Outlet in 1986.
"I really hope this is an ongoing process," Armstrong said. "I would love to see Teays Valley come back year after year and do additions to the project, even maybe enlarging it in future years."
Armstrong said she got the inspiration for the mural after looking around in downtown Circleville with all the different colors of the buildings and the various revitalization efforts there.
"We were originally just going to paint the building all these different colors, but then we had these kids who were willing to step up and do the murals," she said. "I think it's important for these kids who are artistic and interested in the arts to be able to show their work in the community, so we gave them a piece of the building to display their art."
Armstrong said she also hopes the mural reflects what the Discount Grocery Outlet provides for the community, which is name-brand products at deep discount prices that help families stretch their food budgets.
"I've had people tell me it made their lives better because of our store," Armstrong said. "That's huge. Someone recently told me they were having a hard time at a period in their lives, and this store made a difference in how they fed their family. That really does make an impact, and it makes all the hard work pay off."
The Discount Grocery Outlet buys company overages and products nearing their expiration dates and sells them at a discount of 50 percent or more for the same products that are sold in the big retail chains, she said.
The store also gets meat within a few days of its "sell by" date and immediately freezes it, extending its shelf life while providing it at a 50 percent discount to customers.
"It's a great little store," Armstrong said. "It's a small little thing, but it obviously works. Here we are going on 30 years and how many blocks from Walmart, and we're still surviving. Obviously something is working. It's going well."
Armstrong said she will continue to work on improvements at the store, both inside and outside, in the years to come.
"This is like our home, so we always have something going on," she said. "We're excited about what we're doing, and I think we're making a positive impact on our community."