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After a year, the Chrisman Family Market has a new look. Carla Haga, owner of American Country Collections made the decision to rent the space from owner Pam Francis. This location will be an extension of her store and will be able to be rented out for any event. “It could be a little community center where you could have it decorated,” Haga said. “They can come talk to me about renting the space.”
In January, Haga plans to host a small vendor event as a test to see how things may go. “Maybe even February and setting up five to seven booths and letting people come in.”
Haga approached Francis about what her thoughts were for the building. “She was excited to see where I could take it,” Haga said. “Her working at Dollar General doesn’t leave her time to do anything else.”
The Family Market has been closed since the first lock down of COVID. With her main customers being the older crowd, losing members of the community made it hard to open the market again.
Everything remained in the deli and had to be cleaned out. Haga started the task of getting everything cleaned out and repainted. “The kitchen still needs work, but again, I wasn’t sure where I was going with it.”
During Christmas in Chrisman, Haga opened the location for vendors that included Cindy Tomlinson with Avon, FCCLA Gift Wrapping, Katie Lund with the Edgar County Humane Association and Beth Hoult for the Janet Hoult fundraiser.
“It seems to work out for what I’m doing,” Carla said. “I never had a plan except this, but I knew I wanted to do more with it. I just didn’t know what.”
In addition to renting the space, Haga plans to offer baked goods in the future. “I really think that some kind of food, some kind of breakfast would be fun,” Haga said. “I want it fresh. When you come in to get a cinnamon roll, it’s going to be made that morning.” Haga will also use the space for the sale of more of her Amish goods, having more baked goods and breads.
Catering may also be in the future for Carla at her new spot. With insurance being different for a sit down restaurant and a cafe bar similar to Mad Goat Coffee in Danville, logistics still have to be worked out. Haga plans to renew her food license in order to get the ball rolling. “That goes back to what Pam and I talk about,” Carla said. “We’re going to meet the first of the year and kind of get a plan.”
Until Haga receives her updated food license, anyone who wants to host an event can bring their own food for their guests.
If Francis does in fact sell the building, more changes will be needed to make the kitchen set up for a bakery. “Say you had a birthday party and needed twenty cupcakes, I’ve already talked to people that would be willing to cook,” Haga said. “So I have that already lined up so you could come pick them up.”
Other items could also be called ahead to order and could be picked up.
Though she’s still crunching numbers, Haga plans to offer one flat fee per person. The price though will depend on what potential customers want and how long the event is. “There will probably be a deposit for a birthday party, then I’ll give that right back,” Haga said.
As for now, the former deli is being used for Carla’s projects that she’s working on. Things can be moved around if you would like to have an event there or use it as a vendor location.
Haga is open to ideas on what the community might need and encourages them to let her know.
“I want the community to get back to me and tell me what they’re thinking about.
Just to connect with me on what they think they want to have,” Carla said. “Or they could come in and suggest things. I want them to come in and say ‘would this work here or what do you think about that’ and say what they think would be a good addition to the community.”