Local market fighting to survive

If something doesn't change in the next couple months, Marmaton Market in Moran will close its doors. To prevent this from happening, it's up to the community to get involved and find solutions.

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Opinion

September 3, 2021 - 1:49 PM

The Marmaton Market in Moran is on hard times. Mark your calendars for Thursday, Sept. 23, at 6 p.m., to attend a meeting to determine its future.

If local buy-in to Moran’s Marmaton Market doesn’t pick up, the store will likely close within the next 30-60 days, predicts manager Marilyn Logan.

“If just half the people in town would come in and spend $20 to $30 a week, that would make the difference in us being able to stay open,” she said Thursday.

In business since 2018, the cooperative grocery store has failed to gain local traction.

“There’s tremendous support from the surrounding areas. From Moran, not so much,” Logan said.

“The owners of the diner in Kincaid and the Mildred Store are regular customers,” Logan said. “In fact, our most faithful clientele are those from Colony, Stark, Elsmore, Bronson and Uniontown.” 

Even so, it’s local customers who drop in multiple times a week that make or break a grocery store.

Marilyn Logan

That lack of repeat business is what is hurting the market, said Brenda Boyle, chairman of the Marmaton Market board of directors.

Boyle, who lives in Elsmore, surmises that most prefer the larger stores in Iola.

“I realize our prices may be slightly higher. We don’t have the buying power of a Walmart. But we’ll carry your groceries to your car. We provide curbside service. We’ll even do the shopping for you and deliver it to your home. That should count for something,” she said.

Logan said home deliveries average three to five a week. During the pandemic’s peak last summer, that number surged. 

Logan pointed out that the market is especially appreciated by the elderly and infirm. 

“Not everyone has a car to drive for groceries,” she said.

Boyle contends that The Marmaton Market, like every business, is critical to the success of Moran. 

“We pay sales and property taxes. We pay utilities. We give to local charities. If we have slightly damaged goods, like a punctured sack of flour, we give it to the food bank.

Brenda Boyle

“Heck, we even feed the guinea pigs at the elementary school by donating them our extra produce!”

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