Hometown Foods, owned and operated by Jeff and Megan Hansen, opened today at 201 S. Main in Schaller.
It's been 10 years since the former Blum's Market was open at the same location. The Hansens felt it was time that Schaller had a grocery store again, but before embarking on the new venture, they did a community survey to determine whether the town of about 800 could support a grocery. With a strong showing of support, they decided to buy the building which in addition to the former grocery includes what was once a restaurant with a bar in the basement.
Jeff did a complete rewiring job of the building and even brought in a little divine intervention with his pastor David Lyons, the reverend at the Hansen's church, St. Paul Lutheran. Rev. Lyons can slice a slab of bacon just about as well as preach the gospel or say a prayer for a brisk business. He worked as a butcher before joining the clergy. "He's going to show me the ropes and help get me going," Jeff said of Rev. Lyons.
"The community's been just incredible helping us," Jeff said. "It's just incredible how much time people have donated on this. It really makes us feel good about our decision," Jeff said about 40 people donated time to helping get the grocery ready to open today.
In addition to a full Our Family line, Hometown Foods will feature a health and beauty section, a 16-foot row of DVDs available for either rental or purchase, choice meats, Iowa Lottery, and liquor area. Nash-Finch will be his main distributor. Jeff also plans on a sitting area with the future possibility of sub sandwiches.
"Schaller's really on an uphill trend," Hansen said, pointing to the fact that there is just one empty storefront downtown.
It's been a little hectic in the Hansen home lately, with the arrival of their first child, Delainey Lynn, just 11 days ago. Chances are pretty good though that she'll have a part-time job once she's old enough, though.
The Hansens seem young and energetic enough to make a go of it, though, with Jeff at 24 and Megan 26. Jeff says he'll continue his job managing a turkey farm full-time while Megan runs the store from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. He'll come in from 1-7 p.m.
Hometown Foods will be open 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. Jeff plans on having one full-time and two part-time employees in addition to himself and his wife.
Just as he wants to support his community by offering them a local grocery, Jeff feels he's going to get a lot of community support in return.
"People come in and say they did 100 percent with Blum in here," Jeff said of the previous grocery store owners.