• Last modified 1235 days ago (March 4, 2021)


A community that shops together, stays together

Broad community support keeps Tampa Trail Stop running

Staff writer

A food store in northern Marion County is still going strong nearly a decade after it opened thanks to committed volunteers.

Tampa Trail Stop, a non-profit community-owned business that opened in August 2012, continues to thrive because of community support.

Paul and Edna Backhus shop at the store twice a week.

“We do most of our shopping here,” Edna said. “You get into those big stores and you pick up more than you need. Here, we just get what we need.”

As senior citizens, they are thankful they do not have to drive a long distance to get groceries.

With the help of volunteers – Melissa Stuchlik, Julie Kerbs, Barbara Spohn, David Mueller, Kathy Davis, Amber Peterson, and Michele Berens — the store is open a few hours every day Monday through Saturday.

Mueller, president of the board of directors, said others in the community clean the store and help with inventory and stocking.

Danny Williamson receives a salary as manager and keeps the store stocked with groceries and supplies.

The store offers locally-produced Wiebe cheese, Van and Julie Klenda’s J&V Cackleberry Eggs, Wendell Wedel’s sausage, Jirak Brothers honey, and Grannie’s Mustard.

CB Baked Goods of Marion supplies frozen bierocks and fresh cinnamon rolls.

“Dales Supermarket in Hillsboro is a huge help,” Mueller said. “We get a lot of inventory from him at a small discount. Dale has been generous.”

The store sells beef jerky, chicken, bacon, and frozen hamburgers from Krehbiels’ Meats of McPherson. Greeting cards, wrapping paper, and a few over-the-counter drug products are available.

If a customer needs an item that isn’t in stock, Williamson will get it for them.

Whenever Tampa State Bank or Agri Trails Coop has special events, they order food items from the store. The Santa Fe Café in Tampa also buys food there.

A $10,000 grant from Diamond Vista Wind Farm owner, Enel, was used to buy new freezers and coolers. A more recent grant from Enel helped to keep the store going during the pandemic. Tampa Trail Stop delivered groceries to customers, which helped people stay close to home.

“We were very busy when COVID hit,” said clerk Michelle Berens.

“The grant made it possible to cover overhead costs and keep prices reasonable,” Mueller said.

With the help of Tampa State Bank, the store also received a grant under the Payment Protection Program.

Darren Makovec of Lost Springs stopped in for a soda and a candy bar on Friday before going to change oil on a vehicle at the Agri Trails Service Center in Tampa.

“It’s a convenient place to shop,” he said. “I’m glad it’s here.”

Mueller said the Santa Fe Trail Café works with Main Street Café in Durham to provide a place to eat on weekends and Mondays. Santa Fe is open Sunday through Friday and closed Saturday.

Main Street Café is open Tuesday through Saturday and closed Sunday and Monday.

Last modified March 4, 2021