Denzil Bridges opened Hilltop Kash Market on Canton Road in January 1967, and the store has been selling numerous items to tourists and locals ever since. Bridges died in May 2002, but his memory lives on through the quirky little store and through his wife, Ruth, and son, Scott.
Ruth said her husband was part owner of Quality Market in downtown Cadiz from 1956 to 1962. A couple of business partnerships passed before his uncle, Raymond Sallons, built the first room that became Hilltop. Ruth said Denzil started working at Fort Campbell as a clothing fitter during the Vietnam era and also worked in the commissary. He didn’t retire until 1992. Every morning, Denzil would open the store and his father, Jess, would manage it while he was out. Jess continued this pattern until 1975, Ruth said.
The room Stallons built is where most regular items are still kept, but its storage has expanded over the years to include its many unusual things. Ruth said she thought Stallons built some of those buildings too.
How unusual is the selection? It would be impossible to name even half of what’s available, but look around the store and its other buildings for a while and you can find: drainage pipes, a water line, wire, fencing supplies, propane, fertilized seed, stovepipes, kerosene heaters, oars, bait tackles, several varieties of birthday candles, watches, knives, blank video cassettes, G.E. Magicubes and flash bars, thimbles, buttons, an audio cassette cleaner, a baby toothbrush, wrapping paper, fabric dye, dice, elastic, iron-on pockets, any kitchen utensil you could want, bags of peanuts, light bulbs, extension chords, fuses, gloves mousetraps, fishing nets, goggles, ammunition, old-fashioned wooden sleds … and, oh yeah, there’s a deli in the back.
While answering the phone last week, employee Misty Sumter proved again how diverse their items are.
“Space heaters?” she said. “Do we have that? Yes we do.”
Ruth said that when the store opened, it was the only store in the area open on weekends, which led to many loyal customers. She said the store didn’t set out to be unusual, but whenever another store in the area closed, they would purchase much of their leftover inventory. Over the years, they just kept adding more and more.
Scott said that a lot of people come in and spend a great deal of time just looking at their hardware items. They have plenty of fishing supplies, which include cane fishing poles. They also have regular rod-and-reels, or “citified” fishing poles, as Scot calls them.
For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.