Melvin's Nite Owl on the market

Melvin Roberts says customers just not coming in anymore

March 23, 2009

By Kelly Shackleton
Oxford Eagle

Harte Agency Realtor Annette Wyatt says that Melvin's Nite Owl, once the busiest food and drink store and cafe in Oxford, has recently been placed with her agency for sale as soon as possible.

Melvin Roberts, a lifelong resident of the Oxford area, opened the store in the fall of 1970, added a cafe in 1972, and was one of the first stores to sell beer after Oxford's wet law passed in 1975.

Today, there are more than 20 convenience-type stores in Oxford and the surrounding area, but most people agree that Melvin's Nite Owl was the original innovator of the idea locally, jumping on the concept that people traveling to and from Oxford would like to stop and get the things they needed such as drinks and gasoline before beginning their journey.

Wyatt says that the store and the adjoining cafe and car wash area will list in the upper $80,000 range and that she welcomes any and all inquiries.

Roberts, when reached for comment, said only that "I would like to sell it as soon as possible because it's just not profitable for me anymore."

Roberts said his business has gone downhill ever since his entanglement in the rape trial of a 16-year-old girl two years ago, when he claims this newspaper sullied his name irreparably.

"I've kind of had my time in the sun, I guess you could say," Roberts said. "I think someone else, maybe someone younger like I was when I started, could turn it around. I really don't see why not."

Wyatt says she will show the store to the general public on March 30 at noon. All interested parties are invited to attend the showing, where refreshments will be served.

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