BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — A Michigan farmers market chain well-known for its fresh meat and produce began a new chapter at a different location in Battle Creek Tuesday.
Autumn Horrocks, the third-generation co-owner of the franchise, said the new location inside the Lakeview Square Mall has roughly the same square footage as its west Lansing counterpart.
“This was a great opportunity with everything on one floor, which is more accessible for the customers to be able to get around and we can add more things like we’ve been doing in Lansing for years,” said Horrocks.
The space at Lakeview Square Mall used to be JCPenney. Horrocks said she and her husband have joked about how their business is taking over old spaces in the mall.
“People are going to go, ‘Well, where’s the tavern?’ … Well, it’s in the old barber shop. Or ‘Where is the floral department?’ Well, that’s in the old wedding department,” Horrocks said.
She added that the work to convert the former retail space into their new home was a “massive overhaul.”
“Originally, you thought it might be to make the maneuver. And as you start to get into these projects, you just realize there are so many details involved with the electrical, with the plumbing, with things like that,” Horrocks said. “But we have everything worked out, and it’s going along pretty smoothly now.”
The new place has 35% more square footage than their now-former location on Capital Avenue in downtown Battle Creek, which had no room left for the business to have a meat department.
“The building itself was starting to be not in the greatest condition as it had been,” Horrocks added.
Assistant City Manager Ted Dearing said Horrocks still owns the old building on Capital Avenue, which is expected to be on the market soon. He told News 8 there is some interest in reusing the building.
“It’s been around for a while, and we need to find the right adaptive reuse for that particular building,” Dearing explained. “We’re going to continue to reach out to developers to suggest that that is an opportunity in Battle Creek. And then we’ve got local folks who have their own needs, who have expressed interest in that building. We try to facilitate either a conversation with the existing owner or a walkthrough the building and some assessment to say ‘Okay, would this be a good fit for you locally?'”
With a new chapter at the Lakeview Square Mall, the Horrocks family said they are eager for what’s in store for their store and its new home.
“We revitalized another area here with taking on what was an empty mall — all the anchors are empty here,” Horrocks said. “We’re hoping to actually be the new person over here to try to bring some life to this area as well. We just have a lot more room to do so.”
Loyal customers are already taking notice.
“It’s big. It’s definitely as big as the Lansing one, if not a little bigger,” said Barbara Varas. “I’m loving it.”
“This whole town needed this,” added Kathy Sasser. “I feel like a little kid in a candy store.”
After a soft opening Tuesday, the new location will begin regular business hours on Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Horrocks said a grand opening is yet to be scheduled, depending on when additional amenities, like the greenhouse and dining area, are ready to go.
“We’re just getting started and there’s a lot more that we’ll be adding over time,” Horrocks added.