In 1936 J. T. "Bo" Lynn founded Bo Lynn's Grocery market to serve the community of St. Marks. A wide variety of goods, including groceries, clothing, gasoline, automotive and boat parts, and fishing supplies were made available.
When the building was finished it served as a store and a residence. Bo Lynn married Lillian "Lea" Moore in 1938. She became co-owner of the business and helped run the store. Within a short period of time, Bo Lynn's Grocery grew into the largest grocery store and gas station in town.
The customer base has varied over the years, with the local residents, fishermen of St. Marks, and tourists remaining a constant source of business. During WW II the store provided supplies to many military personnel from the local Coast Guard, U.S. Army's 922nd Rescue Squadron and the workers from the nearby Newport Marine Industries shipyard. More than a 100 servicemen were stationed in St. Marks. As there were no movie theaters in town, Bo Lynn would occasionally project movies against the side of the store's outside wall for everyone's entertainment.
In December of 1957, Bo Lynn and a friend were returning from a duck hunting trip on a small boat when a storm came up. The hunting party never made it back. The boat was found later; however not their bodies.
the war, oil and asphalt facilities expanded in St. Marks. Bo Lynn's Grocery business increased due to tugboats, facility employees and commercial and recreational fishermen.
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1965 to Present
From 1936 to 1965 members of the Lynn family operated Bo Lynn's Grocery. Joy Brown purchased the store in June 1965 from Lea Lynn, Bo's widow. Joy never knew Bo Lynn, but maintained the name "Bo Lynn's Grocery". Retaining the name has meant a great deal to the Lynn family. Joy has operated the store for more than fifty years. In the hearts of the local people in St. Marks, it is fondly known as "Miss Joy's".
Miss Joy had three sons, which required her to make two additions to the back of the store to accommodate her young family's needs. She had a great love of history. When possible she preserved the store as it was built in 1936. As you walk through the front door, you take a trip back in time. Miss Joy kept all the original wooden display cases, antique walk-in cooler, chopping block, and the meat case. Even the paint on the walls and the ceiling remains a creamy swath on the thin straight planks. The original white Formica counter top has worn to a brown patina in front of the cash register where nearly a century of customers have paid for items. Quoting Miss
Joy, "Mr. Bo Lynn had it built to his perfection." The store remains the same with the exception of the handcrafted tongue and groove floors, which were damaged by years of hurricanes and floods.
Miss Joy has been a hard worker with a strong love for her family and community, opened daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. except for Sundays. Many locals began their day with a fresh cup of hot coffee at Miss Joe's. Her son Michael passed away in 2009. Sons Larry and Jeff live in Wakulla County. Jeff has helped out regularly with the store.
Bo Lynn's Grocery was the first business listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the City of St. Marks. The Wakulla County Chamber of Commerce awarded Bo Lynn's Grocery/Miss Joy's with the Business Excellence Award in 2016. "Bo Lynn's Grocery is the oldest commercial retail store still standing in St. Marks," the Chamber noted.
Miss Joy said the best part of running the store has been serving the community and meeting people from around the United States and many foreign countries. A guest book is filled with years' of interesting signatures from around the world. Just like she hasn't tired of the decor, Miss Joy never tires of being at Bo Lynn's.
On February 14, 2017
Bo Lynn's Grocery
Has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places
of the Interior