Local hardware store owners buy grocery store to allow community close access to food
23 Aug 2021
On May 23, 2017, Jeff Johnson of Buffalo Center sold Johnson’s Foods to Doug and Barb Murra, who renamed the grocery store “Main Street Market.”
After no one displayed an interest in buying Johnson’s store, the Murras looked into the possibility of taking ownership of another business, feeling it was crucial for the town to maintain a grocery store. Barb worked at the local hardware store for 15 years before she and her husband purchased the now Murra Hardware in March 2009.
“Having the hardware store made me realize how important businesses are to keep the community going, and we wanted to keep little Buffalo Center going,” Barb said. According to Barb, the transition of ownership was “easy,” especially since the couple kept the grocery manager. This allowed for Barb to put her focus on baking goods in the morning and running the deli.
The Murras saw a need for a place where community members could sit and eat. They opened up the area to the right of the entrance, formally a women’s clothing store, and transformed the deli department into a take-out and dine-in area called The Farmhouse Deli.
In need of equipment and seating for the new area, the Murras turned to a then-closing store in Fairmont, MN to purchase everything they needed.
The deli creates meals for all meal times, bringing in a small crowd for breakfast, but roughly 70-120 customers during lunch and dinner hours daily. The deli also includes themed meal days including Taco Tuesday, Hot Beef Thursday and Cook’s Choice.
Valuing her customer’s thoughts, Barb measures the market’s success by the customer’s comments and conversations with her in the store.
“They come in; they’re willing to talk and tell us if there’s a problem,” Barb said. “They’re always trying to help us make it better... I think people are happy with us.” For now, the Murras continue to run both businesses but hope others will carry them on when they are ready to retire just as others did before them.