History

With the closing of the Whole Foods Co-op, the Peterson family heard daughter-in-law Cathy’s plea, “How can we make granola without bulk oatmeal?”
Nearly a year had passed since Helen had left Val Chatel, so being anxious to return to food service, she heard the plea; and with the cooperative help of son Thom and Cathy, they decided on a market that would replace the former whole food co-op. With the purchase of the Pine Region Dairy building on 3rd Street in Park Rapids, and the fixtures from the food co-op, the project was underway.
Thom readied the building; replacing the front windows, adding new wall surfaces and flooring, while Helen started the process of ordering bulk foods and packaging materials. In October of 1986, the 3rd Street Market was opened, with one employee, Barb Holmen. Barb originally filled the shelves with bagged beans and grains, fruit, nuts and spices. But when Barb and Helen viewed the array of equipment received in the co-op purchase, the unanimous opinion was “this should be used,” the wheels were in motion and the lunch service was begun.
With the basic sandwich menu, a few homemade soups, carrot cake and pies, a month after the market opening, the lunch counter was serving an enthusiastic group of customers. The seven counter stools were insufficient, so tables were added one by one.
By the summer of 1988, the lunch business was well established, and Betty Haukebo was welcomed to the kitchen staff. Her enthusiastic, creative efforts soon revealed menu additions and variations, and baked goods to include “more healthy oats.” After all, in the beginning “all we wanted was granola!”
Nita Disney was added to the kitchen staff in August 1993, and soon assumed the role as food service manager. She was always demanding top quality foods and services, and was an excellent baker, especially of cakes and cookies!
In 1995, the old storage garage to the east was purchased and remodeled to add more seating and public restrooms. Included in the purchase were the bonus outdoor dining deck and an espresso shop. The Market’s tenth anniversary was celebrated in October 1996 – with sparkling cider and granola!
The following 9 years saw continual growth in all departments – and the kitchen gained three additional permanent employees: Tasha Thielen, food preparation and waitress, started in December 1997; Joann Meyer, happy and reliable, has washed dishes and stirred the soup pots since April 1999; and Cheryl Akre came in September 2001 as a cook and waitress, who was a great soup and pie maker, and a welcome relief for Nita.
Meanwhile, the retail portion of the Market continued to flourish. In 1990, with the renewed interest in healthy and organic lifestyles, the vitamin and supplement interest developed and the demand for quality and reliable supplements continued to grow. In order to provide helpful assistance, Helen attained Carolyn Conklin, who was able to share excellent knowledge with customers, and an expanded resource book section…and “all we wanted was more granola!”