Moonstone Market: A Country Store With Heart
#SmallBusinessWeek #SBW2020 #OroMedonteStrong
To celebrate Small Business Week, we are featuring innovative small businesses located in Oro-Medonte. This year, we recognize entrepreneurial resilience and adaptation in the wake of the COVID19 crisis.
When you live in Moonstone, you know exactly what Moonstone residents need during a difficult year.
Sherry O’Brien and Mike Lord, longtime Moonstone residents, acquired Moonstone Market & Grill in February 2020, just before the pandemic hit. The store features a made-to-order grill menu, fresh baked take-home treats, confectionery, souvenirs, handmade gifts, and grocery and household items.
Before COVID hit, the owners had established the business as a large restaurant with a small store to accompany it. But when the COVID lockdown began, O’Brien reports that they were hit hard: “The restaurant business went totally quiet. We had a choice to close our new business or modify what we had.”
Being residents of Moonstone themselves, the owners decided to focus on how they could best serve their local community. “We went with what our community needed at the time,” says O’Brien. “We built up the store and made the restaurant take-out only.”
The owners communicated with their neighbours and customers about how
they could help meet their changing needs, and then worked to bring in key supplies. To make shopping safer and more convenient, Moonstone Market started to provide customers with over-the-phone shopping
options as well as curbside pick up for groceries and food. This helped some Moonstone area residents stay closer to home and avoid larger shopping centres. While the rest of
the province was scrambling for items such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer, masks, yeast and flour, Moonstone Market owners were able to find these supplies and offer them to their customers. “We were lucky enough to have awesome suppliers that really worked with us to find products that were in huge demand,” says O’Brien.
It's been a tough year for the new business owners, Sherry admits. “Unlike other businesses, we were not eligible for help from the government, or did we have any rent relief from our landlord since we just opened. Our sales numbers were just enough to squeak by and allow us to keep going.”
Moonstone Market owners say that they plan to expand their store space this winter and offer a greater selection of local and fresh products. They will continue to serve home cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner along with catering services. In response to community feedback, they are also working to expand the vegetarian and vegan grocery section.
With the holiday season approaching, Moonstone Market owners are planning to set up a special Christmas Market in the store. Owners are planning to decorate the space with a special santa house and bring in special
Christmas gifts and treats. Gift items such as blankets, jewelry, toys and art will be for sale, with an emphasis on promoting local artisans.
“The Moonstone community has been and remains today very supportive of our business, by coming into the store and supporting us on social media,” says O’Brien. “You can't miss us as you drive through Moonstone, so make sure you stop in to say hi!”