The new Ripley Country Market opened its doors May 26th and business partners Knight and Hathaway families are cautiously optimistic about its future. “You just never know,” said Patty Knight. “We thought it was a good idea. Time will tell if Ripley will support it.”
The Country Market focus was initially to provide locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables. Strawberries and rhubarb were among the first items to appear, quickly followed by cherries and lettuces. As each type of produce comes into season, they will be added to the shelves. Hanging flower baskets and bedding plants are also currently available.
“We planted a type of strawberry that produces fruit right up until the frost,” said Andy Knight. “We’re excited about that.” He went on to explain that the first strawberries offered were smaller and darker in color. As the season goes on with the ever-bearing brand, the berries will get bigger and lighter in color. Taste quality should remain the same, however.
The store also carries a line of Amish canned and packaged goods, from soup stock to noodles, and jams and salsas. “We’re also getting fresh baked doughnuts, breads, cookies and pies,” added Katie VanOrd, store employee. Delivery of the Amish baked goods is on Fridays.
Rounding out the selection at this new venture are candles and greeting cards as well as a few jewelry and decorative items. There’s a little something for everyone it seems. The store will change as customer wants are determined, according to the owners.
Patty and husband Phil Knight spent several months in negotiations in order to purchase the old St. Patrick’s Catholic Church which sits on the east edge of the town of Ripley. “Some people think we knew about the closing of Country Fair in Ripley and that’s why we opened this place. That’s just not true; we didn’t know anymore about the store closing than anyone else did,” stated Patty Knight. “We’re just happy to offer a store like this to serve the community,” she continued.
“We’re in a state of flux right now,” said Pat Hathaway, a business partner with the Knights. “We opened as a farmer’s market with fresh produce from the local area. Now we’re expanding to include items people went to Country Fair to get, like bread, milk and eggs.”
The Country Market also offers breakfast items such as breakfast sandwiches, coffee, cappuccino and hot chocolate. “We’re trying to give the folks in Ripley a place to stop for coffee and a quick sandwich in the morning,” explains owner Phil Knight. “Between us and Meeder’s, we’re trying to take up the gap Country Fair’s closing causes.”
Patty Hathaway of the Ripley Country Market is pictured at the meat slicer. The market opened its doors in late May and will provide local produce and other items.