Char-Koosta News

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Main Street Market keeps it simple, friendly and in the family

By Adriana Fehrs

The Main Street Market of Polson is located at 208 Main Street. The tribally owned old-time mom and pop grocery store sells a little of everything, from candles to automotive supplies, to beer and groceries. (Adriana Fehrs photo)The Main Street Market of Polson is located at 208 Main Street. The tribally owned old-time mom and pop grocery store sells a little of everything, from candles to automotive supplies, to beer and groceries. (Adriana Fehrs photo)

POLSON — The Main Street Market of Polson, owned by Peggy VanNess and LaRese Reum, located at 208 Main Street, has been providing excellent customer service since 2001. The tribally owned mom-and pop type grocery/convenience store has a little of everything: from beer and cigarettes, to groceries, to candles and automotive supplies.

The Main Street Market has been a family owned business in Polson since 1977, though it has not always gone by that name. The small grocery store originally started out as Donny Dupuis’ Smoke Signals, owned by Donny Dupuis, and was located across the street from the KwaTaqNuk Resort and Casino.

LaRese Reum,co-owner, started work at the store when she was twenty-two back in 1987. Reum continued to work at Donny’s Smoke Signals and has been there continually for twenty-six years. Reum says, “I love being here, I’ve been here since I was 22 years old, and I haven’t wanted to work anywhere else. I have a great relationship with Peggy and I wouldn’t change anything.”

LaRese Reum and Peggy VanNess, owners of the Main Street Market of Polson, take a moment to pose for a photo inside their store. Peggy VanNess says a lot of their customers are return customers, which she attributes to their outstanding customer service (Adriana Fehrs photo)LaRese Reum and Peggy VanNess, owners of the Main Street Market of Polson, take a moment to pose for a photo inside their store. Peggy VanNess says a lot of their customers are return customers, which she attributes to their outstanding customer service (Adriana Fehrs photo)

Peggy VanNess, co-owner, started work for her brother Donny at his store back in 1977. VanNess left in 1995 to work in other fields; she worked in various businesses, and at one point worked as a bank teller. VanNess returned to work in the store in 1999.

After the unfortunate passing of Donny Dupuis in 1999, VanNess and Reum continued to work at the store, eventually buying the store in 2001. They then moved their location over to Main Street, and renamed the business ‘The Main Street Market’. Reum says at the last location the lease payment was too high, and there was an open lot on Main Street. They saw an opportunity to expand their business to a small grocery store, and made the choice to move.

Custom made jewelry is just one of the many things that the Main Street Market of Polson sells. (Adriana Fehrs photo)Custom made jewelry is just one of the many things that the Main Street Market of Polson sells. (Adriana Fehrs photo)

Since VanNess and Reum have operated the store they have strived to keep everything the same. VanNess says, “We are old school.” The owners strive to provide excellent customer service. They know their return customers, and can call them by name. “We like owning our own business, I enjoy coming to work.” Reum says, “We know our customers, we love talking to them and getting to know them, that’s why we have a table and chairs here.”

The small store faces competition from bigger chain grocery stores in town, but they feel that they get a high percentage of return customers due to their friendly service, and their competitive prices. The owners also compete with Pier 93, a similar small grocery type store, but they say, “Don Miller, [The owner], is a wonderful neighbor.”

Handcrafted gemstone jewelry is just one of the surprising items that the Main Street Market of Polson sells. The small grocery store is known as one of the places on the Flathead Reservation that sells discount cigarettes. (Adriana Fehrs photo)Handcrafted gemstone jewelry is just one of the surprising items that the Main Street Market of Polson sells. The small grocery store is known as one of the places on the Flathead Reservation that sells discount cigarettes. (Adriana Fehrs photo)

VanNess says “we strive to keep prices as low as possible, that’s also why we sell discount tribal cigarettes. Customers also return because they love us, they let us know about our services and how are employees are doing”

VanNess and Reum also say they have no marketing, except word-of-mouth and from their reputation from years of service.

The 50 foot by 120 foot space traffics about 250 people every day. The biggest item customers come into the store to buy are the tribal discounted cigarettes, which they stock every week, and is on a first-come-first-serve basis. VanNess and Reum say “any CSKT tribal member that buys cigarettes here gets a $1.70 discount per pack, and a $17 discount on cartons.” The store even has a tanning bed in the back of the store available for use. They charge $4.50 for one session, or $40 for ten sessions. The owners say, “We can also special order items that are not in the store.”

The Main Street Market of Polson has an assortment of merchandise for sale. The store even provides a tanning bed for 4.50 per session, and $40 for ten tanning sessions. (Adriana Fehrs photo)The Main Street Market of Polson has an assortment of merchandise for sale. The store even provides a tanning bed for 4.50 per session, and $40 for ten tanning sessions. (Adriana Fehrs photo)

The store is open Monday through Friday 7a.m. to 7 p.m., which will soon be changed to 7a.m. to 8p.m., and is open Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The store operates longer hours and stocks a larger inventory during the summer.

Their slogan for the store is ‘the friendliest one-stop shop in town.’ VanNess says, “Come by and check out our store!”

For more information on the Main Street Market of Polson, call (406) 883-2102.

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