The Market House Supermarket is Hillsdale’s one-stop-shop for everything from groceries and deli to postal services and a fitness center. Now the store owner, Brett Boyd, is looking to add another business or two.
At the end of 2019, Domino’s franchisee Ken Clawson decided it was time to retire, leaving an empty space in Market House’s food court with no one new looking to sign a contract with the franchise to take its place.
“We’ve been looking at a lot of different options to fill the space,” Boyd said. “We’re looking primarily at fresh food options. We’ve done a lot of due diligence on our side, analyzing opportunities to go there.”
Boyd said he is considering a wide range of food options, including ice cream, Chinese food, or a different pizza option, but has yet to make a decision. He has traveled as far as California to find the best option. He said Market House is looking for something that will complement the other foods that are already there, including Blimpie Subs, Biggby Coffee, and Krispy Krunchy Chicken.
“It’s an exciting time. We have a clean slate here, a great location, and an opportunity to add something new and different to the community,” Boyd said. “We’ve been very patient in our review of other alternatives because we want it to have a niche and we want it to be different.”
A new spot to eat in the food court isn’t the only thing Boyd is looking to add to his store.
“We actually have another space in the store. It’s about 3,500 square feet that we’re looking at also adding, which is in the back,” he said. “You can’t see it right now because it’s part of our warehouse, but we’re looking at some options of opening up our floor plan to allow for another storefront that could potentially go back there.”
This space, unlike the area in the front of the store where Domino’s was, is being considered for hard goods such as clothing or appliances. Boyd said he’s looked at several different options for that space, and most recently visited the B2 Outlet in Coldwater.
“We love their business model because they’re very community-minded,” Boyd said. “We just looked at that option. It’s a Michigan-based business that has contracts with big box stores and they deal with new appliances, clothing, furniture. It’s a wide variety of stuff.”
These additions are coming at an exciting time for the Hillsdale Market House. Founded in 1941 by Boyd’s great-great-grandfather, this fifth-generation family-owned business is entering its 80th anniversary.
“We’re going to celebrate our 80th birthday,” Boyd said. “Our goal here is to be a fifth-generation, 100-year Michigan family-owned business. And there’s not too many of those, so it’s really important that we make good decisions with this and that we add these two stores, one here up front, and then one towards the back of the store. It’s really important to our future that those are winners. We’ve been really deliberate in making a decision because we want it to be right, to feel right.”
Part of making sure they make the right decision is getting the community involved and making sure Market House introduces something it either needs or will enjoy.
“I’m getting a little impatient. I want to make a move,” Boyd said. “I want to make a difference for my store, for our employees, for our community, so we’ll see what happens. We’re relying on talking to everybody to meet the needs of the community. And if there’s a need in our community we don’t have, we have two store fronts we can utilize for that.”
He said he’s reached out to community members through the Market House Facebook page, and would also love to even hear what Hillsdale College students would like to see in the store.
“I would love to see a Chipotle,” Hillsdale College Junior Matthew Pfeifer said. “I once ate there five days a week for three months straight.”
Mike Phillips has been the store manager of Market House for five years and was the assistant store manager 15 years prior to that. He greets customers by name and is very community-driven, supporting Boyd’s mission to serve the community.
“That’s why we’re in business,” Phillips said. “It’s because of the customer base that we have.”
Phillips said that despite the store’s already wide-ranging variety, he would like to see something else complete all that they have.
“This thing is going to kind of get us that final puzzle piece for everything else that we have,” Phillips said. “With the amount of time we’ve put into it, we’re going to make the right decision doing it. I think it’s going to complement everything very well.”
As decisions come to their final stages, Boyd said Market House Supermarket should have two more stores to offer the community of Hillsdale by the end of this year or early next year when it celebrates its 80th anniversary.
“My great-great-grandfather had a saying, ‘If you’re not making dust, you’re gonna eat it,’” Boyd said. “We’re gonna make some dust this year.”