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Do you think that chain stores in small communities undermine the sales of locally owned retailers?
Posted in All Progress Edition
Last fall LeAnn Jevne decided to expand her floral business in Mabel and opened a second store in Canton. She opened Old Hen Gifts right after Thanksgiving and stocked it with an impressive selection of seasonal gifts, primitives, candles, cards and, of course, fresh flowers for all occasions. Right now she is gearing up for Valentine's. Photo by Rachel Hanson
The city of Canton has experienced some amazing progress this past year, especially for a town its size. Four, actually five new businesses have either opened, reopened or changed ownership in 2010. The first of these as you come into Canton from the west on Highway 52 is TJ's Café. Although it has retained its original name (Tammy/Jenny), as of October 1, 2010, Jenny Kleppe became the sole proprietor of this Canton business. Even though this is her first venture as a business owner, Jenny has years of experience working as a waitress and knew what she was getting into when she took over the restaurant by herself. "We used to eat here so when it closed, I decided to jump in with both feet and buy it, she commented. She is open Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. (kitchen closes at 2 p.m.) and on Saturday the hours are 7a.m to 2 p.m. and Sunday 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Her daily lunch specials include pork chops, baked chicken, meatballs, and ham loaf to mention a few. Saturday breakfast is a favorite for many customers who look forward to her plate-size pancakes! Although this is the "down" season, Jenny says business is going well and she is optimistic. She has a great location and if a customer is driving by and just wants a cup of coffee, Jenny has homemade goodies to go with it.
Continuing down Highway 52 a visitor to Canton will next come upon Old Hen Gifts and Old Crow Antiques, two new stores in the building that once housed the Grapevine. LeAnn Jevne is the owner of Old Hen Gifts and opened for business right after Thanksgiving. She is no stranger to the world of business, however, and has operated floral shops for several years, including Mabel Flowers and Gifts. In addition to fresh flowers, her gift selection includes a large variety of seasonal gifts, primitives, candles, Willow Tree angels, a sympathy section, gourmet teas and other food items, along with a great array of cards to go with the gifts. Right now LeAnn is gearing up for Valentine's Day and says she will have a large selection of fresh flowers that people can either "grab and go" or preorder. On the other wing of the store, antique lovers can browse through an impressive array of antique furniture, dishes, lamps and many other items from yesteryear. Charlie Staub is the owner of Old Crow Antiques and moved his business from Harmony to Canton last fall. He, along with business partner Pam Smith, opened for business at the same time LeAnn did, right after Thanksgiving. Much of his furniture and country décor can be seen throughout the store. In addition, Charlie says he also does Amish tours during the warmer months and his knowledge of the local Amish is impressive. If you haven't been in this store since it opened, you will be amazed at the changes. After LeAnn purchased the building, she and a son totally remodeled it into a truly beautiful new business in Canton. Winter hours are 10 a.m.to 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
The next stop on this tour of new businesses in Canton is the Nek Inn, located right on Main Street. Formally ZZ Tap, Shawn Mills was able to purchase the business and reopened it on November 15, 2010. In addition to the bar, Shawn also serves what she calls "bar" food that includes pizza, Angus cheese burgers, and hot dogs. She features daily Happy Hour specials Monday through Friday, 3-6 p.m. and from noon until 2 on Saturday and Sunday. She is open Monday through Friday at 3 p.m. and noon Saturday and Sunday. Being able to open her business is a 25-year old dream for Shawn. "After 30 years of experience managing and working for others, I decided it was time to have my own business," she remarked. She also chose to change the name of the bar by naming it after the first three letters of her children's names. Shawn is excited to be a business owner in Canton and said, "The people of Canton and the surrounding area have been great!" Last Saturday she even had a live band on hand to entertain the customers in honor of her birthday.
Finally, across the street from Nek Inn is the Canton Pub. While this is not a new business in town, it is under new ownership. Kim and Jerry Bakke purchased the Pub and opened it up for business on November 1, 2010. They open at 11 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Friday night they offer a fish and prime rib special and Saturday they again feature their prime rib. Kim is in the process of adding new items to her already full dinner menu. Right now they are closed on Mondays for the winter months.