OVID TWP. — Mike Holmes and Lisa Olson recently purchased The Shepardsville Corner Store and they hope the business becomes part of the morning routine for drivers traveling M-21.
“We were looking for some kind of a business, something to do up here, so Lisa could spend more time with her sons,” Holmes said. “We were living out in Arizona. This just fit the bill. It came with a house and a business.”
The couple, who are from Ovid and are in the process of relocating to the city from Tempe, Arizona, say business is up, and they have plans to bring in former customers and attract new ones.
“We always thought this place would have a lot of potential if someone bought it,” Olson added.
Holmes, whose parents owned Burton Corners, said the building, 7002 E. M-21, was constructed in the late 1950s. The store’s name was “Rushers Market,” in honor of a one-time local football team.
According to a plaque on the property, on July 4, 1895, the Michigan Rushers, “played the first professional football game in Michigan, and possibly the U.S.” The plaque was placed by citizens in 1995 after a 100th anniversary game was played behind where the store now sits.
The property has changed hands numerous times since it opened, Holmes said, and added the former owner decided to sell because business was declining.
But Holmes and Olson say they’re introducing new food and drink options for customers, and it’s helping to bring people in. They also say they encourage people to stop in to hang out and chat.
“The former owner wasn’t big into a lot of things like that,” Holmes said. “A lot of people stopped coming in. Now that it’s back to local ownership, the people around here are way happier. They’re all starting to come back in. They’re finding out we’re local, we’re from the area. A lot of our high school buddies are all coming in, paying us visits. Business has been up. As word gets out that this is locally-owned, people are coming back in.”
Olson said she believes the baked goods she prepares every morning have a lot to do with people visiting the store. Some of the wares include apple cinnamon muffins, brownies, cookies and cake.
“I can’t keep up,” Olson said of her treats, all of which are made from scratch. “They are selling like crazy. I sell out immediately. Oh my gosh, I make a bunch of different stuff — molasses, brownies, no bake cookies, peanut butter cookies. I sell out fast. People come in and buy $30 worth of cookies. I have orders from people in advance. Farmers come in and will get some to take with them in their tractors.”
“People ask us when they were made,” Holmes said. “We tell them they were made this morning. If they weren’t, there wouldn’t be any left.”
Holmes also plans on adding new options later in the summer and into fall, after he and Olson complete their move.
“We’ll be making egg rolls. We’re going to have barbecue. We’ll probably sell the meat by the pound,” Holmes said. “We’ll make sandwiches too. We’re adding new items to the deli. We’re adding Cajun bacon, pepper bacon. We’re bringing the prices down. They were a little high, so we’re bringing them down. We’ll bring in an espresso machine, and this will be the only place around Ovid you can get espresso. And we’ll have the best beer specials around.”
“Sleepy Hollow park is right down the road,” Olson noted. “People come in all the time and say, ‘Thank you,’ because they don’t have to go all the way to St. Johns or Owosso.”
Future plans also include selling hunting and fishing licenses, Holmes said, and added he has already applied for a liquor license.
For now, Holmes and Olson are building relationships with former customers and hoping to build more with new ones.
“We encourage people to come in and chat,” Olson said. “We want people to know we’re locals and build that trust with us.”