When we built Main Street Market in 1987, we knew there was a need for a full-service grocery store in the center of Northern Door. Egg Harbor was in the beginning stages of development and land was available in the center of town to build and potentially, expand.
We started with a 9,000 square foot store. We had a full-service meat counter, which shared space with the deli and bakery, produce, beer, wine, liquor and groceries. Egg Harbor did not have city septic yet, so two large holding tanks were installed; the following fall the massive sewer, curb and gutter, sidewalk and parkway beautification project began. Those two holding tanks made the strangest housewarming gifts for Kaaren and Steve’s new house in Fish Creek, yet very useful!
Egg Harbor grew quickly, as did business at the market. Initially, we thought Steve would have to get a part-time job, but that was not necessary. He started coaching basketball instead! We had a very small core staff of 6-8 people,which grew in the summer. Our introduction to the seasonal aspect of a business in Door County. The first addition to the west end of the store was completed in 1991.
That first addition enlarged the basic store, but more importantly, added a deli and bakery department. The “fresh” departments of the store were a big draw, and people soon learned that they did not need to bring groceries from home for their vacation or for their seasonal home. We worked hard at having a good selection of products and customers were surprised that a small store could have everything they needed!
We also realized that people wanted to cook and entertain at home. We added more specialty products throughout the store, an extensive cheese selection, Certified Angus beef foods people could actually use to prepare a fantastic meal and impress their guests or families. Our produce, bakery and deli departments also proved very popular for picnics and boaters, as well as the families who stayed in the many condos in the area.
Main Street Market continued to flourish and one more addition in 1997 brought the store to its current size. A separate bakery was installed in the front of the store, the produce department was greatly expanded as was the deli, fresh fish was added, and most of the other departments gained more shelf space. Most obvious was the reconfigured front end. A total of five checkstands and a spacious arrangement was a huge upgrade from the original cramped layout. We pride ourselves on efficiently moving people through the checklanes, and the bright airy space made that possible. Of course, the number of well-trained staff working the front end does play a large part in the total efficiency!
Additional land was purchased to accommodate the parking lot for the 1997 addition; Main Street Market is now landlocked. The Market is the perfect size 4-5 months of the year, extremely undersized 2 months, and oversized the remaining 5-6 months. Such is life in a retail market open every day in Door County!