The city of Livermore will be getting a new business in the downtown area this spring.
Mallory Robertson of Calhoun will be managing and running RiverTown Market, a gift shop at 100 W Third St., the previous location of Wells Insurance Agency, which is across the street from Livermore City Hall and the Old Livermore Furniture & Hardware Co.
“I’m pretty excited,” Robertson said. “I don’t think that the shock has totally worn off yet. ...I’m not as nervous as I thought I was going to be….”
Robertson’s goal with the new store is to be a one-stop shop for a wide range of products.
“My big thing is Kentucky Proud products, which is just a program through the Kentucky Department of Agriculture,” Robertson said. “That ranges from jams and jellies, to honeys and ice cream, peanuts and different kinds of nuts, to woodworking and lotions and candles — it’s just kind of like everything.”
Another focus of the business will be selling crafts. Robertson said many local folks have been interested in showcasing their own works in the shop.
“I have been bombarded with local people, which is a good thing; I’m not complaining,” Robertson laughed. “...Some things will come from local people, but I have to explore more to see what my options are first before I make any final decisions.”
However, the 21-year old Robertson already has experience running her own business. Last year, Robertson opened up Mal’s Pumpkin Patch after leaving school during her freshman year at Murray State University because of COVID lockdowns. The pumpkin patch recently ended its second season in October.
But Robertson said that this type of business was something she had some interest in.
“I remember back in high school, I always kind of had a thought in the back of my head (about) being my own boss would be cool one day. But I didn’t know what I wanted to do with that,” Robertson said. “And then, I went to college and kind of found my spot in the agriculture industry, and then when I got sent home from college, the pumpkins kind of sparked even a bigger plug in me. So, I wanted to do something year-round.”
The new business would still be true to Robertson’s passion with agriculture, as Robertson said that Kentucky Proud products are from all kinds of local farmers and helping small businesses and entrepreneurs.
“We’re actually working on trying to get some spring flowers and stuff out here as well,” Robertson said. “So, kind of like seasonal things.”
She also plans to have part of her pumpkin business operate part-time out of the store while still having her main business at the patch itself.
Robertson is leasing the building from Ralph and Diane Thacker, who purchased the building earlier this year in order to help Livermore’s transition into becoming an official Kentucky Trail Town.
“For the Trail Town, they had to have a store that sold Kentucky Proud products, so they had actually already purchased the building and were fixing it up, but they didn’t have anybody to run the business,” Robertson said.
Robertson linked up with the Thackers after Robertson’s initial idea of starting a similar business in the old city hall building in Calhoun fell through this past spring.
Though Robertson admits she was discouraged at first, she believes that she is at the right place and there is a lot of potential for growth and possibilities, while also hoping that the store attracts tourists and helps them have positive memories about visiting Livermore and McLean County.
“...This was definitely a better location and space for me,” Robertson said. “...It feels really good, and the Trail Town is going to bring in all kinds of out-of-town people. I mean, McLean County is just a tiny little spot on our map, but making it be known for something fun when people come here, they’ll be like ‘Oh, let’s go check this out and this out.’ It’s pretty awesome. I’m excited.”
While the shop has not opened to the public yet, Robertson has been working on the administrative and legal processes, such as taxes and loan process for inventory in order to get her products for the store.
But, the business had already received a large amount of community support when Robertson went public announcing she was starting the business back in October.
“...It got way more attention than I thought,” Robertson said. “A couple weeks after I made my personal announcement, I set up a Facebook page for this store, and it was overwhelming. It was really good, I wasn’t expecting it. Before the end of the night, I had over 500 likes for the page. And every day, I’m getting notifications that someone’s liked it.”
Robertson was hoping to have a grand opening in time for Christmas, but she said that the ribbon-cutting won’t be taking place at least until early spring.
“We just couldn’t get it all done in time and get the products in,” Robertson said.
But Robertson will be welcoming residents into the store from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4 for an impromptu picture with Santa photo op, where families can come out and take pictures with Jolly Saint Nick and enjoy some cookies and hot chocolate.
“The building was just kind of sitting here, and I hate vacant buildings,” Robertson said. “I wanted to do something in here, and especially now that I’ve moved in here … and I remember I overheard some people talking one time and they were like, ‘They’re not doing Santa again this year and my kids didn’t get pictures with him last year, and I don’t want to pay a crazy price to have professional pictures done by a photographer’ and so I was like, ‘Well, let me see what I can do’....”
Robertson wants people to be able to stop by to be aware of the store’s existence and have an opportunity to explore the “atmosphere” and ask questions. Additionally, Robertson said that any families that come to the event will receive a 10% off coupon that can be used when the store officially opens.
With months until opening day, Robertson has already received advice from the Thackers to be mindful and be kind to herself throughout the process of running a business.
“I think that the main thing is to have it here to make not only the Trail Town successful but also Livermore and McLean County successful…,” Robertson said. “Just to not get discouraged when the hard times do come.”
But Robertson is confident that the business will flourish.
“There’s not anything that I am nervous about as far the business aspect of it,” Robertson said. “Deep down, there’s always like a nervousness of like ‘Is this going to be successful?’ But, I just have faith, kind of like my pumpkins — I just have faith and so, we’ll see where it goes.”
Robertson hopes to have the business opened on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays before eventually expanding to Monday through Saturday.
For more information on the store, visit facebook.com/RiverTown-Market-105602211928469.
Freddie Bourne, firstname.lastname@example.org