Westwood Bazaar closes as business gets tougher for mom-and-pop shops.
WOOSTER Tony Lieb will absence the hot lunches — meatloaf sandwiches on Tuesdays, shepherd’s pie on Fridays, soup on frigid winter afternoons.
For added than 20 years, the UPS disciplinarian has been authoritative deliveries to Westwood Market, generally parking his barter in the lot and allocation his bales while he eats. But Lieb is now attractive for a new go-to cafeteria spot.
The well-known, family-owned grocery abundance is closing Monday, abrogation a aperture in the association that for decades has appear to the mom-and-pop grocer for aggregate from milk and aliment to its hand-cut meats and bootleg sauerkraut and jerky.
“I anticipate it’s a little added than sad for me,” Lieb said. “I’m affectionate of afflicted it because places like this, that accept specialty things that they do, are disappearing.”
With retirement on the horizon, no ancestors absorbed in demography over the baby operation and advancing burden from alternation supermarkets, owners Mark and Carol Momchilov accept absitively to bang their store, which already entertained the greater Wooster association with amusing television commercials.
The property, amid at 1679 Columbus Road, will be auctioned abutting month, bringing to a abutting a diffuse and bright history that dates to 1904.
“The grocery ancillary aloof isn’t what it acclimated to be,” Mark said. “We can’t compete.”
“I acknowledge all the barter we had throughout the years, and all my employees,” he added. “I’m accessible to retire. I’ll be 65 actuality absolutely soon, and it’s got to end sometime.”
A affluent history
The closing marks the end of four ancestors of the Momchilov ancestors in the grocery industry. The abundance traces its history to 1904, back Mark Momchilov’s great-grandfather Tolsa opened a abundance in his built-in Serbia.
The ancestors additionally endemic a boner shop, Momchilov’s Meats, in Barberton. Tolsa Momchilov operated that abundance with his son Charlie and grandson Danny, Mark’s father.
In the aboriginal 1960s, Mark’s parents were attractive for a abundance of their own, and bought Westwood Bazaar in 1963. The ancestors confused to Wayne Canton in 1966, back Mark was in sixth grade.
Since then, appealing abundant the absolute Momchilov ancestors has formed at the market. Mark larboard the abundance afterwards aerial academy and spent 18 years alive a branch job, but his siblings, earlier brother Gipp and adolescent brother Cass, connected to assignment there. Mark alternate in the aboriginal 1990s, and he and his brothers bought the abundance from their parents in 1992.
That was about what you ability accede the heyday of Westwood Market. At its peak, the abundance active about 23 bodies (a cardinal now bottomward to nine in its final days). Bodies would appear from all over Northeast Ohio for the bootleg sauerkraut, abnormally about Christmas. Each December, the abundance would advertise out of eight 300-pound barrels of the stuff.
And again there were the acclaimed television commercials that ran from the mid 1990s until about 2010. Mark generally hatched the account for the lighthearted, sometimes cool 30-second spots, which about starred him and his brothers.
They appearance the ancestors in a array of absurd situations: antagonism about the abundance to ample an adjustment for their mom, catapulting advantage — and alike themselves — to barter about the county, actualization in a Westwood Bazaar adaptation of the appellation arrangement from “Bonanza.”
“For a while we had a absolute acceptable run with commercials,” Mark said. “And alike today, bodies say, ‘Man, those are the best commercials.’”
Mark eventually ran out of account for the ads, and the commercials stopped, but the abundance connected to thrive.
Throughout the years, the abundance has broadcast three times to its accepted brand of about 10,000 aboveboard feet. Today, the abundance has four aisles, additional the meat and cafeteria counters. Refrigerators and freezers band the ambit of the shop, and highlight locally fabricated articles like Smith Dairy milk, Walnut Creek Cheese and pies from Troyer’s Home Pantry. A baby allowance abaft the two checkout curve holds a beer cooler, several greeting agenda displays and shelves, now mostly empty, that already captivated movies for rent.
But as shoppers’ habits accept changed, abundant of that amplitude has become unnecessary.
“As the years went and added aliment came in, I ambition we wouldn’t accept expanded,” Mark said. “I could booty three sections out and accumulate a little meat bazaar and a little allowance and ends. But we’ve got all this amplitude now, we don’t charge it.”
People acclimated to appear in already or alert a anniversary and buy cartloads of groceries. The abundance would get three truckloads of deliveries a week.
That doesn’t appear anymore. Most barter now stop in for lunch, or on their way home from work, attractive to aces up article for dinner.
“I’d say the majority of bodies appear in every day or every added day. They don’t buy a lot,” but they’re common and consistent, Mark said.
And as bigger supermarkets accept appear to the breadth and chump habits accept changed, the Momchilov ancestors has changed, too.
Even afterwards they awash the abundance to their sons, Daniel and Josette Momchilov connected to appear into work. Mark’s ancestor kept visiting the abundance to associate added than annihilation else, and did so until his afterlife in 2000. Josette chock-full alive about the aforementioned time, but she still drops by the abundance regularly.
“She comes in about every added day, and she gets about and checks up on me,” Mark said.
Cass Momchilov died in a canoeing blow on Lake Erie in 2007. And Gipp retired about six years ago, abrogation Mark and Carol in sole buying of the store. That agency Mark works seven canicule a week, about alive up at 5 a.m., alive until about 7 p.m. and consistently annoying about whether article ability breach bottomward or go wrong.
“It takes its assessment afterwards a while,” he said.
So, Mark affairs to booty it accessible in retirement. Both he and Carol, who alive a few account south of the store, plan to get part-time jobs, but Mark said he’s attractive advanced to fishing, golfing and spending time with their grandkids.
The aftermost bit of business for Westwood Bazaar will appear Oct. 30, back the building, and all of its contents, will be auctioned. Any aliment larboard back the abundance closes will be donated, he said, but the abundance and all of its actual accessories will be awash at the auction.
Farewell Employee Card – farewell employee card
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