Meriden businessman saves McLouth’s grocery store
Country Harvest Apple Market in Meriden owner Scott Stanley is now operating an Apple Market in McLouth. Stanley’s wife, Wendi, and children Preston, left, and Sloan, right, were on hand Saturday to help with the grand opening.
Story and photo by Dennis Sharkey
Three weeks ago the city of McLouth was facing the reality of not having a grocery store, until Scott Stanley stepped in.
Saturday marked the grand opening of the McLouth Apple Market, formerly known as Hometown Foods, and the first day of a new beginning for the community and the store’s employees.
Rumors about the store’s closing have been circulating for the last couple of months, but for the few shoppers still going to the store the writing has been on the wall for quite some time.
Those rumors are what led Stanley, operator of the Country Harvest Apple Market in Meriden, to pay a visit to McLouth.
Stanley said he wasn’t in the market for opening a second grocery store until he came to town a couple of weeks ago. He said vendors who deliver products to his other store started talking about the store in McLouth and the prospects of it staying open.
Stanley said he has passed through McLouth on different occasions but did not really know much about the community. Stanley was able to catch owner Joy Mestagh at the store and the two were able to strike a deal for Stanley to take over. Ten days after filing the deed with the county, Stanley reopened the doors.
“Hopefully everybody that lost faith will pop back in,” Stanley said on Friday as he stocked shelves and prepared for opening.
Stanley said he is confident residents of McLouth will return to shop at the store once they see what it has to offer.
“It will be more noticeable when they come in,” Stanley said about the fully stocked shelves. “They’ll know that we’re going to keep the shelves stocked. We’re going to give them what they want.”
Stanley said if shoppers don’t find what they want, he will make sure to get the product for them. Last week more than 4,000 cases of product were put on the shelves by Friday with another 300 to 500 cases to be put up by Saturday morning.
Stanley has rehired most of the employees who worked at the store before he took over. He said his presence was welcomed news to the employees. Stanley said he will lean on those employees for the store’s success.
Stanley said he will spend most of his days at the store in McLouth and will tend to business in Meriden in the evenings. He said the strong staff he has put in place in Meriden will allow him the time to spend in McLouth.
Stanley said he also thanks his family and in particular his wife ,Wendi. He said Wendi will also be helping in Meriden even though she has a full-time job in Topeka. He also noted that the new store will take away some family time as well.
Stanley said he realizes that it will take some time to build confidence but he has faith. He said last week while shoveling snow outside the store eight or nine people stopped to say hello and inquire about the store.
“I’ve always been one to take a leap of faith,” Stanley said. “I always try to look at things as positive as can be and that’s how I look at this.
“If I have what they want, I don’t know why I couldn’t be successful,” he added.
Stanley has operated the Country Harvest Store for about 14 years and took what he considers a big leap of faith when he took over the strip mall in Meriden.
When he took over the mall about seven years ago only two or three tenants existed. Now the mall is thriving with businesses.
Stanley said his store will also feature strong name brands in addition to the Best Choice and Always Save private label brands. He also said prices will be competitive.
The store will be open seven days a week with hours of 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
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