Denfeld News

Jan. 10, 2010
Duluth News Tribune

4th Street Market customers glad to see store reopen
By Andy Greder

Shopper Steve Larson was perusing the remodeled aisles of 4th Street Market and Deli when he met store operator Judy Potter. He quickly thanked her for reopening the full-service grocery store in Duluth’s Central Hillside neighborhood.

“It looks good,” Larson told Potter. “It’s easy to get around and you can tell that you’ve put your heart and soul into it. This is helpful. There are a lot of low-income people that can’t afford to get into a car and go to the West End or the east end for groceries.”

After an eight-month closure, the store at 102 E. Fourth St. was remodeled and reopened Wednesday under new management. The Potters and the Hurlbut-Zeppa Charitable Trust, which owns the building, painted the walls, added better lighting, put in a new floor and reconfigured the aisles to make it a more welcoming place.

They added more selections of meat, produce and foodstuffs, while keeping its popular tacos and other deli items.

“We love the smells,” said customer Jolen Uhura-Wilds of the aroma from tacos. “I walked in and noticed that right away.

“It’s very well-organized and neat and presentable and well-maintained. You can tell that the people care about their facility.”

The Potters — couple Judy and Tom and their son, Matt — have operated the Hillside ICO convenience store on Sixth Avenue East and Sixth Street and heard from customers there that someone needed to step up and bring back the grocery store to Central Hillside.

“We saw it a long time ago that people wanted this store open,” said Judy Potter, whose family also operated the Milkhouse on Central Entrance for more than 25 years. “Our biggest challenge is the previous owners ran it down so much. And then it was closed for so long. Reopening a store that had been closed is a challenge. It always is. … We want to be known as a clean store, as a friendly store.”

Market employee Jelayne Sargent worked under the previous operators and came back because of the positive environment.

“It’s smaller, not industrialized,” Sargent said. “It’s family owned and more friendly. If people just want to come in for conversations, that’s OK. It’s not so professional.”

Potter said she is open to suggestions on what goods the store will offer, and the store is finalizing approval to offer food stamps.

“We waited a long time for them to reopen,” said Larson, who said he receives a small stipend of stamps. “We can wait a few more weeks [for stamps]. … A lot of people in the neighborhood are on food stamps.”

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