In the heart of Home, situated on a hill off Key Peninsula Highway, is a small rural business called Home Feed and Grocery. This little grocery and feed store has been owned and run by a friendly, ambitious and hard-working Key Pen resident, Trixie Schick, for  35 years. It serves mostly locals, but summertime brings a lot of tourists.

Trixie Schick in front of her store in Home. Photo by Karina Whitmarsh

Schick was born and grew up in Graz, Austria, the same city where Arnold Schwarzenegger was born. In 1949, she left Austria to make her own living. She worked a variety of jobs all around the Mediterranean in different countries and says one of her most unusual ones was “on the job training” as a magician’s assistant. “I eventually started training other women as assistants and did a lot of costume sewing,” she said.

While traveling and working, Schick met her husband in Trieste, Italy, and they were married in Saigon, Vietnam. He was in the military and was transferred to Ft. Lewis in 1958, where he retired two years later. Schick managed two grocery mini-marts and quit after being held up at each one. In 1971, she took on a franchise at Mode ‘O Day (a small but popular women’s dress shop) at the Tacoma Mall. In conjunction with that, two years later, she started making bulk mail deliveries (so-called speed runs) for the USPS from Bremerton to Belfair, Vaughn to Purdy, and the whole Key Peninsula.

She liked the greenery of the Key Pen so when she saw the grocery and feed store for lease (then located across from the Home Marina), Schick decided to open a business. In 1974 she purchased the lease, packed her belongings and moved here. Business was off to a surviving start with tourists adding to her income, then in 1983 her lease expired and she moved to her current location. For eight years, until 1981, she kept busy maintaining three jobs until she let go of the first two.

Asked what she likes the most about being on the Key Peninsula, she said: “the greenery, as it reminds me of ‘home,’ and you get to know everybody.”

Schick has been robbed at gunpoint twice at the current location. During a recent power outage, someone broke into the store, and two days later another robbery attempt was made but this one was interrupted by one of her sons.

She still has a photo of a 500-year-old building in Austria where her mother once worked. Schick decided years ago to never return to her home country. She has seen pictures of changes but wants to remember things as they were.

The original signs that were used for the early and current stores still exist at Home Feed and Grocery, serving as memories of the past. One can be seen as you go up the antique ramp and the other perched on top of the store’s roof. The eye catcher, however, is the tall, yellow neon sign that seems to say, “Come on in, I’m open.”

The store is open seven days a week, every day of the year. When Schick is gone, one of her two sons helps out. Asked if she has any dreams for the immediate future, she said, “For now, no, but you never know. Life and business go on ‘one day at a time.’

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