BERTRAND — Brenda Johnson said God has a plan for her future, she just isn’t quite sure what the plan is yet.
Brenda and her husband, Jerry, have owned the Countryside Market in Bertrand since 2008. In October, they placed the business for sale.
“It’s time to take care of me. There is really not one specific (reason). Sometimes God has different plans for you,” Brenda said about selling the business.
Brenda had always wanted to own her own business, but she never dreamed of having a grocery store. After researching her options, she decided an established business in a small town would be the best route.
The Countryside Market offers in-town delivery and a daily to-go or dine-in special at noon. The store also has a gift shop, and customers can order meat and cheese, and vegetable and fruit trays. The market is well-known for it’s homemade cheese ball, fruit pizza and Charlie’s Potato Bologna, a family recipe.
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Brenda is hopeful that someone with a passion for the business and who knows the importance of a hometown grocery store will take it over.
“People don’t bat an eye to drive 20 to 45 miles to just go get something. They don’t blink an eye to do that anymore. Our society has changed,” Brenda said. “We are hoping that the mid- to younger-age group realize the importance of your hometown businesses, not just my business. We have a couple boutiques in town. We are not just the ‘I forgot it at Walmart’ stop.’”
She has received a few inquiries from potential buyers about purchasing the Countryside Market, but time will tell what happens, Brenda said. Since putting the “for sale” sign in the store’s window, customers have been supportive but sad about the Johnson’s decision.
“Some of them said I couldn’t. One of my older customers yesterday told me she was going to take the sign down out of my window,” Brenda said with a laugh. “Most of them say, ‘We are going to miss you.’ They gave me blessings and understanding.”
As grandkids grow older, Brenda said she wants to be more accessible to them.
“I will miss the people in the grocery store environment, but there are other ways to touch people’s lives and serve the community in the future for me,” she said.