For three years, Country Mart has been a source for groceries for the Nashville community and surrounding areas. On Nov. 30, the 29 employees were informed by their owner, Admiral Parkway Owner and President Joe Koeppis, they would have to close at the end of December due to income, issues with their refrigeration units, and the cost of maintenance for those units. Workers were then offered employment at the Freeburg location.
“We were steady, but we just weren’t seeing any growth,” said Koeppis. He has owned the building for over a decade after originally buying it from Chuck Hobbs.
“I like Nashville a lot,” he said.
Assistant Store Manager, Dixie Moss, says that upon hearing the news, employees were expectedly disappointed.
“We were down,” said Moss.
In a quick change of fortune, employees were then told last Wednesday they were given an extension through the end of March 2022 to boost their profits.
“It’s been pretty crazy, but our spirits are definitely up,” said Moss.
Moss credited Mayor Raymond Kolweier as well as other community members who reached out to Koeppis to convey their support and vouch for the local business.
“When a local business shuts down, it affects people and the city in a negative way. I had people express their concerns about the closing, so I encouraged him to do what he could to stay. It would be a good thing to keep the store open,” said Mayor Kolweier.
Since announcing their extension, Moss says she has noticed an uptick in business, and it is something the store will continue to rely on in the coming months. She noted there have been “a lot” of people come into the store to express their support and appreciation for the store’s continuing business. In fact, according to Koeppis, last week sales were up 6.5% compared to those of the same week in 2020.
Although the deadline for increased profit is March, the hope is to keep the store open beyond that.
“We like the town, we like the people, Dixie does a great job, the employees are great, I’m hopeful we can go up. We’d love to keep the store open. It’s a nice clean store, our prices are competitive, and it is easy to park,” said Koeppis. “We don’t need a huge increase, perhaps an average of $1,200 a day. We just can’t go backwards.”
In a continued effort to increase patronage, the store will use methods such as advertising as well as implement a rewards card program which will begin Jan. 1st.