Country Corner adds groceries to fill void
Closing of Almont Food Center creates need in town
|Jeff Deppong, co-owner of the Country Corner on Van Dyke in Almont, says the store is adding products to help fill the basic grocery needs of residents. photo by Tom Wearing.|
July 15, 2009ALMONT — Since the closing last month of the Almont Food Center on Van Dyke, village and township residents have been forced to travel greater distances to purchase their groceries.
Realizing the need for a hometown shopping alternative, Jeff Deppong, co-owner of the Country Corner at 515 Main St., is attempting to fill the void through the introduction of more grocery items; supplementing the store's traditional product lines.
As a result, the long-established business has been enjoying an uptick in appreciative customers, while providing a valuable service to the community.
"We want to help fill the gap for people who don't want to have to drive to Imlay City or Romeo to pick up their basic groceries," says Deppong. "We're seeing a lot of new faces in here right now. A lot of people are saying they never realized we had groceries."
While happy to provide a convenient alternative to larger supermarkets and big-box stores, Deppong is cautious about overstocking the store.
"We don't want to jump in too deep," he says. "We don't have the room. But we can provide our customers with the staples they need day to day."
To help feed the need, Deppong and co-owner Dean Berry are also adding a greater selection of frozen pork, hamburger and other products raised by J&M Farms, a locally-based meat producer.
"We're increasing the variety and volume of grocery items from what we had in the past," Deppong says, adding that the store has always sold eggs, milk, bread, cereal, canned foods and other staples."
Noting that the original business, Almont Elevator, dates back to the the late 1800s, store manager Lori Nash says many local residents still wrongly identify the business as solely a grain elevator.
"We still offer those items, but we're much more than just a grain and feed store," says Nash. "We've always had the groceries."
Nash says she's heard positive feedback from customers, many of whom stumbled onto the business in recent weeks—after the closing of the Almont Food Center.
"A lot of people are saying they're happy that we're here," she says. "Along with the new faces, we're seeing some people we haven't seen in awhile.
"I think most of them would rather pick up their basic items in town," Nash said. "Otherwise, they're going to have to take the time and spend their money on gas for a trip to a supermarket."
Adding further value to the downtown business, the store has opened its doors to Unique Floral Creations, an Almont-based supplier of silk flowers. The business can also provide real floral arrangements.
In addition to groceries, feed and grain, the Country Corner sells woodstoves, lawn equipment, clothing, muck boots, pool and pond supplies, bird seed, pickle crocks and countless other items.
The Country Corner is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; and on Sunday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
For more information, call the store at 810-798-8255.