ATHENS - Find what you're looking for at The Village Store.
That is what shop owners JoAnne and Sidney Sytsma are striving for. Since opening in June, close attention has been paid to what customers and cottagers want so that they get what they need and don't have to drive to larger centres.
"I hear it every day how they're glad to have an option," says JoAnne. "Sales are better than we hoped - there is more of a need than we realized."
The new shop is bright and spacious with aisles of grocery items, large banks of new freezers and a big checkout counter.
"Products are moving off the shelves quicker than we expected," says Sidney. "Customers really like the fresh produce, sandwiches, deli, baked goods, fresh meat and the full line of grocery products.
"They can plan an entire meal or weekend of meals off our counters," Sidney adds. Many customers live around Charleston Lake. "Cottagers don't like to leave the lake for long so they like a one-stop shop," he says.
The Sytsmas are new to the grocery and convenience store business but not the community, which is why they also sell products made and grown by other village vendors and area producers.
"We try to compliment what each other does," says JoAnne, adding there is an emphasis on promoting all of downtown.
The store is located in a landmark building which the couple has completely renovated. The 1000 Islands Community Development Corporation assisted them in getting funding for the rehabilitation of the exterior facade. It has been good for downtown revitalization, says JoAnne.
Adding to the level of convenience are their store hours from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Learn more about The Village Store by visiting them at 23 Main Street East in Athens, liking their
page or giving them a call at 613-499-9324.