Mandan News

Neighborhood is losing a familiar staple

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Being raised at 207 Sixth Ave. N.W., I have the dubious distinction of knowing more about the west end of Mandan’s Main Street than do most folks around town.

Back when I was a kid, there was Ohm’s, Fink’s gas station, Thomas Appliance, Moos Jack and Jill, Barney’s, Pat’s Texaco, Thompson Grocery, Eagles Club, Western Grill, Cloverdale, Reidinger Motors, Dime a Time Laundromat and Bill’s Super Valu.

Since I’m eligible for the senior discount, I engaged my topnotch research team at Cappuccino on Collins and discovered that everything except Ohm’s and Barney’s Tesoro has changed.

For the past few years, my morning routine consisted of rising from bed at 6 a.m., taking care of my personal hygiene issues and heading to Central Market to pick up my breakfast before getting my morning latte.

Each morning I’d get to the store, snatch a banana, an apple, an orange, and a yogurt … and each morning I’d encounter the same staff, so over time we became friends.

The fruit fondlers and I would greet each other and chat for a moment, the butchers would wave from behind their counter and the dairy guys would often wonder about my choice of yogurt.

While heading to the checkout I’d chat with a couple of shelf stockers who were either on their knees or up to their chests in boxes.

Once I reached the checkout we’d find something to chuckle about, and after wishing each other a good day I’d be on my way.

So to say I was disappointed to hear that Central Market is closing would be an understatement. I am in a funk as I not only have to rearrange my morning routine but more importantly I have lost my neighborhood store where we have always done our grocery shopping … bummer!

I heard that Wal-Mart is partially to blame and some folks blame the tax credit it was given. For the record, Bill’s and Dan’s were given the same tax credits when they built … so that ain’t it. I heard that Central Market saw a 25 percent drop in sales once Wal-Mart opened and I think that has more to do with the novelty effect than the long-term impact.

Most of us like to shop at convenient places and Central Market was very convenient for those of us west of Collins Avenue. That convenience is now gone. as we’ll have to triple the distance we travel for groceries – Wal-Mart and Dan’s are not in our neighborhood.

I’ve always been a bit leery of shopping at Wal-Mart but it now looks like it will be getting most of our business by default. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad thing but I do know that it’s nice to have a place in town that helps folks shop here rather than in Bismarck, and it is what it is.

So more changes are underway in my old neighborhood and although there is great hope that someone will reopen Central Market, the likelihood of that occurring is rather dismal so I’ll just have to find another way to retrieve my breakfast.

Most of all though I’m going to miss the folks who made my mornings worth getting up for. I can’t help but wish them well as they and their families struggle with this awful Christmas surprise they’ve been handed. They were all great employees and always made me enjoy my visits to their store … I hope that all of them will be able to find a place where they can continue expanding their talents.