New grocery store coming to Holton
Before the end of this year, a pair of Holton High School alumni are planning to open Cecil K’s Hometown Market in the former Ron’s IGA building.
“I think people in general are ready for a small store experience, and we’re really excited to be filling that gap,” said Carly Whorton, a 2006 HHS graduate who will own and operate the new market with cousin Chad Bontrager, a 2000 HHS graduate.
That “gap,” Whorton said, is one that many people don’t believe a big box store like Walmart can fill in the absence of smaller, more localized grocery stores like Ron’s IGA, which closed at the end of March 2016, and Holton Country Mart, which closed earlier this year.
“It doesn’t really feel like we’re competing with Walmart so much as coexisting, because we’ll be doing much different things,” she said.
The store’s namesake is Cecil Kern, great-grandfather to Whorton and Bontrager, who owned and operated a grocery store in Iola in the early 1930s. Kern would later move to Hoyt and work as a farmer-stockman south of Denison for most of his life until he died in 1998.
Whorton said she and Bontrager view the new grocery store as a “natural continuation of the family business that started almost 90 years ago.”
The grocery store will also serve as a storefront with Heartland Meat Market, which currently operates an outlet store just off of Holton’s Town Square. Whorton said Bontrager, as a partner in the Meriden-based meat business — which is owned by two other HHS alumni, David Tinney and Matt McCauley — suggested that Cecil K’s serve as a storefront for their meat market.
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