COLERIDGE — Work is underway to reopen the Coleridge grocery store which has been closed for at least six months.
The store was closed this spring, forcing residents to drive at least 10 miles for groceries.
At a Dec. 7 meeting attended by over 90 residents, it was evident the residents want to have their grocery store re-opened.
The closure of the store has been an inconvenience for area residents.
Regg Pehrson, Brian Eddie and Kerry Hefner spearheaded the research on the possibility of having the store re-open.
Having a business on main street close affects the remaining business in a small town.
Information was presented at the meeting on options for the purchase of the store and the inventory, the management after the store would re-open, the cost and possible investors.
Pehrson provided information at the meeting on all projected costs. He told the group, Paula Dirks and Melody Storm would be the managers.
Pehrson also announced Ken Mitchell, who retired from the local grocery store close to 12 years ago, has agreed to return to Ken’s Market to consult in the training, along with sharing his knowledge and experience in the meat department and operation of the business. Mitchell, who had started and owned Ken’s GW for 43 years, had moved to Norfolk after his retirement.
“These three people all have past experience working in the store,” Pehrson said. “I’m excited about this and have complete confidence in each of them.”
Many of the attendees at last week’s meeting have already made a commitment to invest in the re-opening.
It is important to have investors, but equally important that people patronize the store as well, according to Pehrson.
“Additional investors are welcomed and needed,” he said.
Each investment is a commitment to the success of the business and results in less money being borrowed to start the store.
Depending on the investments, the grocery store could be opened as early as January or February.
“We want to get it opened as soon as possible” Pehrson said.
The ownership of the grocery store in Coleridge had transferred from Ken and Fern Mitchell to new ownership under the name of Ken’s Market LLC in September, 2005.
Shortly after the purchase, construction began on a new building to house the grocery store, which would be under new management.
Over 40 households had contributed to the initial capitol to purchase and build a new facility to house Ken’s Market LLC.
People who had invested had felt it was important for the vitality of the town to have a grocery store.
Over 100 volunteers, which included families and people in the community, turned out to help move the inventory from the building that had originally housed Ray’s Store and then Ken’s G.W. to the new building just ahead of Memorial Day in 2006.
Pick-ups and a lawn mower with a little wagon on the back were used to move the inventory from the older building just a little over one block west to the new location. People also pushed grocery carts filled with items up the street to the new building.
Jeff Hall was the manager of the Ken’s Market LLC until shortly before the doors were closed in May 2017.