New grocery to feature local products

Photo by Bobbie Hayse | McLean County News James Perkins, left, helps customer Betty Ray Cox at he and his wife's new grocery in Calhoun. Big Oak General Store, located at 140 Main Street, has been open since the end of July and will be expanding operations in the near future to have dry goods and meats, along with fresh, local produce.

Calhoun needs a grocery store.

At least that's the sentiment that prompted area school teachers James and Teresa Perkins to purchase the building at 140 Main Street in Calhoun earlier this summer. This came after the Calhoun IGA closed in June of 2018 due to financial reasons.

Since the end of July the couple have operated Big Oak General Store at the location, focusing on providing Calhounians access to fresh and local produce and dry goods. With the success of their store, so far, it is clear to the Perkinses that the community needed such a shop nearby.

"Last year when the IGA

see grocery/page a2

went out, we started looking around for land to build a store," James Perkins said. "Our town needs a grocery store."

The couple has operated their farm Big Oak Farm in Calhoun for three years, and in that time they have been selling at farmer's markets. Now they have brought that operation into a brick and mortar shop that currently has in-season vegetables locally grown for sale, as well as some specialty items as they come in. For example, a woman stopped in the store last week with fresh blueberries to sell, and those were available for a limited time.

James Perkins is working with food distributors across the state to bring in more of a variety of foods. At the time, the store operates out of the front two rooms, but starting next week, he said, they will be expanding to the back of the shop where he expects to have his coolers up and running.

"We will have fresh meats for sale, and we are getting more dry goods, as well," he said, citing cereals, sugars and pastas as examples.

Since opening he said there are a lot of customers who are glad to have fresh foods in the city again. One such customer is Betty Ray Cox, of Calhoun, who has visited the store three times since its opening.

"I plan to become a regular," she said. "I'm absolutely thrilled to see a grocery here again."

The store will also be selling crafts and arts from locals who are interested, and there are plans in the distant future to knock down some walls in the store and open up a commercial kitchen. Those who are interested in selling their crafts at the shop can stop by the store, or call James Perkins at 270-903-8252.

For now store hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Those hours will be extended when the Perkinses expand their shop to sell more products.

The store has been steady, and a lot of days it has been busy with a revolving door of people coming and going, and for that James Perkins said he is grateful.

"We just want to thank everybody who has supported us," he said.

For more information about the general store, visit their Facebook page @BigOakFarmKY.

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315.

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