Walking the road to Our Market

Our Market grocery store will celebrate its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday. It's been a long road to get here, filled with twists and turns. Follow along as we look back over the past two-and-a-half years.

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July 9, 2021 - 3:37 PM

Humboldt's Our Market grocery store and butcher shop opened in May 2021. Photo by Trevor Hoag

Our Market grocery store and butcher shop celebrates its grand opening today in Humboldt.

Yet amidst all the fanfare, it’s easy to forget how long a road it was in getting here.

In what follows, then, we take a look back over the past two-and-a-half years in order to construct a timeline of events that ultimately made Our Market a reality.

WE’LL begin on the last day of the year, Dec. 31, 2018, when Register veteran reporter Bob Johnson wrote the Moon’s Hometown Market building in Humboldt had been purchased by Monarch Cement.

Owner Mike Moon of Osawatomie had been facing a number of challenges, including low inventory, flat sales and competing businesses, so Monarch stepped in to relieve some of the pressure.

“A grocery store is important to any small town’s sustainability,” Walter Wulf, Monarch CEO, said. “Our participation is merely as a landlord for the purpose of freeing capital that Mr. Moon may use to invest in inventory and more energy-efficient equipment.”

Despite the boost, Moon’s announced it would be closing on Feb. 15, 2019, an event that sent waves of panic through the Humboldt community, especially.

The proprietors of Our Market, Amy and Scotty Welch, this spring.Register file photo

“We have been seriously struggling for many months,” read Moon’s Facebook post, “[but] the financial decline has been long and slow, going back several years.”

Those especially concerned about the closure included Humboldt’s Arrowwood Lane retirement community, who wondered where they would procure staple items like bread, milk and ice cream.

The Growing Place, a Humboldt daycare and preschool, was also forced to make major adjustments, since half of the care center’s food typically came from Moon’s.

Indeed, “we depended on Moon’s for fresh produce and meat, as well as milk,” administrator Janie Works said.

A flurry of questions followed:

How might a new store be funded? What grant opportunities and food assistance mechanisms exist? What public and private stakeholders would step up to the challenge? Who might be willing to run a new store?

County Commissioner Bruce Symes, left, confers with Scotty and Amy Welch about their financing needs.Register file photo

Humboldt council members were some of the first to start seeking solutions.

City administrator Cole Herder began reaching out to agencies like Thrive Allen County and Allen County GROW, along with looking for grant funding opportunities. Council members pitched ideas for new grocery business models.

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