Within two minutes, Sherry Harkness and Crystal Sikon racked up $438 in groceries.
Two minutes later, they added more than $850 to the bill – spending close to $1,300 in a much smaller time than it took to arrive at Ric’s Food Center from their home in Ithaca, Mich on Saturday morning.
Dennis Harkness, the winner of Graff Chevrolet’s shopping spree giveaway, was given just 120 seconds to fill his cart with as many items as he could, not exceeding $999.
As a long-time farmer in his mid-50’s, he figured it would be more efficient to have his wife and daughter, Sherry Harkness and Crytal Sikon, do the shopping for him.
“I found out a couple weeks ago at work when (Graff Chevrolet) called me to let me know we had won,” he said. “I said OK, but I didn’t know when I’d be able to get there. Usually I work dark to dark. I told him I could get the girls to come in.”
In an emotional mix of fatigue and excitement, due partly to the 7 a.m. Saturday start time, the women were off.
“I was running with four packs of chicken in my hands when you took off with the cart,” Sikon joked to her mother as they were scanning their items through the checkout. “When it let us know we only had a minute left, I was like, seriously?”
Having only scratched less than half of their budget, Graff Chevrolet owner Jim Messick allowed them to go for another two-minute round. Having gathered mostly laundry detergent and meat, the pair was aiming for high-dollar items.
The only rules were a limit of five like items and no tobacco, alcohol or gift cards.
“If you have to spend a lot of money quick, I’d go to the meat and just forget everything else,” said Mount Pleasant resident Steve Garner, who was also grocery shopping during the spree. “Without alcohol, nothing else would really add up. There’s nothing else that’s really that expensive.”
The shopping spree, held to commemorate Graff’s 99 years in business, was aimed at giving back to the community. The winners, who recently purchased a vehicle from Graff, were announced in a fishbowl drawing at Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort, 6800 E. Broadway Road.
“Most dealerships and business don’t last 100 years,” Messick said. “We’ve grown from one store to 10. We wanted to give back to the community”
Although the family racked up a bill larger than $999, Graff picked up the tab.
Perhaps Sikon summed it up best at the end of the spree.
“I’m tired, I need a nap.”