Brightly Colored Promises: Mighty ‘Sip Fest brings visitors to Folk Art landmark

Published 1:21 pm Monday, April 17, 2023

Margaret’s Grocery, the iconic and colorful landmark in the Kings community on North Washington Street, was open to the public on Saturday during the Mighty ‘Sip Fest.

Visitors were treated to tours of the property and had the opportunity to help in the restoration of the site.

The structure was originally a grocery store owned by Margaret Rogers, who married the Rev. H.D. Dennis in the early 1980s. Dennis made a promise to his wife: that he would build her grocery store into a castle as a monument to his love for her. He kept that promise, transforming the store over the course of decades into a whimsical and vibrant structure.

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Suzi Altman is the current owner of Margaret’s Grocery and is overseeing the restoration of the site.

“On (Dennis’s) deathbed, he made me promise to take care of it,” she said. “I did, having no idea what I was volunteering for.”

Some rain hindered attendance from volunteers at the site on Saturday, but Altman said she was pleased to be able to show Dennis’s creation to the community.

“It was wonderful. We got a lot of visitors from the community that we normally would not have gotten,” she said. “So I thought it was a success.”

Altman was planning on allowing volunteers to help repaint the vibrant exterior of the building, but the rain put those plans on hold. However, there was still plenty of work that could be done.

“We had some volunteers. We replaced the plastic fencing. We rehung the sign with all our contact information,” she said. “We cut and weed-whacked the entire property and we gave a bunch of tours.”

Many visitors were already familiar with the sight and its history but had not seen it in quite some time.

“It was their first time to see it in years because most of the (visitors) grew up knowing Margaret and Dennis,” Altman said. “It was like a trip down memory lane for them, and they were actually really tickled and happy to know that somebody was preserving it and wanting to bring it back. So it was a really wonderful response.”

Altman’s plan is to refurbish the site in order to have regular tours and to be able to apply to have Margaret’s Grocery added to the National Historic Registry. She added that she will be hosting more cleanup days in the future.

“We’re determined and dedicated to saving the site,” she said. “I really need all the help we can get.”

For more information about Margaret’s Grocery and the restoration effort, visit