Filling a void in South Deerfield

  • Nicole Ciesluk and Dave Grover in Ciesluk’s Market in the village of South Deerfield, with a bakery, deli, ice cream and grocery items. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Dave Grover waits on a customer in the deli of Ciesluk’s Market in South Deerfield on Thursday. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Ciesluk's Market in South Deerfield. May 23, 2018 Recorder Staff/Paul Franz—Paul Franz...

Recorder Staff
Published: 5/24/2018 7:00:31 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Nicole Ciesluk kept walking by the vacated Garden City Market in the village, thinking “what if’s” about the space that once served the residents of the town as a convenient grocery store.

Then in June of last year, she finally made a move to bring a new grocery store to the area, one a couple doors down from Jerry’s Place. Known as “Nikki” by friends and family, Ciesluk spent the last 15 years managing the Ciesluk Farmstand on Routes 5 and 10, has struck out on her own and has started her newest endeavor in life: owner of the Ciesluk’s Market.

The store opened this past week and is serving breakfast items, like bagels from Easthampton’s Tandem Bagel Co. and breakfast burritos using eggs from Ciesluk’s home. There’s a coffee bar serving Northampton’s Indigo Coffee Roasters. There’s a deli component, where people can get Boar’s Head sandwiches. Ciesluk hopes to have a hot meal or two a day as well.

The market will sell local and regional produce. There is Arnold’s Meats from Chicopee and milk from Hadley’s Mapleline Farm. There are apple cider doughnuts from North Hadley Sugar Shack, fresh baked breads from Pittsfield and, to the likely delight of children as well as adults, scoops of SoCo Creamery ice cream.

“I wanted to bring something that the town is lacking, a good market,” Ciesluk said. “We plan on being open early and stay open late.”
The plan is to be open from 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Ciesluk also wants to offer lottery tickets and is applying for a beer and wine license in town; there are no plans to sell cigarettes.

Ciesluk, who’s running the business with her boyfriend, Dave Grover, said she envisions it to be an “upscale, but hometown market, where people can come see each other, grab something to eat and walk over to the common.”

After months of renovations to clean up the space, including a new floor, freshly painted walls and the installation of a full commercial kitchen, Ciesluk is relieved she can move forward and start serving the community.

“We just want it to be a nice, clean atmosphere,” she said. There’s also a flat-screen television that Ciesluk motioned toward, adding, “I got the TV so when you’re ordering your breakfast sandwich, you can still watch the news.”

And while there are plenty of unknowns about starting such a business, Ciesluk has been encouraged by the support she’s received since starting to move into the space. She said friends texted her during the winter, saying they had to go here and there, instead of being able to stay in town to buy certain items.

Her goals are simple: “Just serving the public. Making people happy. Serving a good product.”

Ciesluk offered additional thanks to the Franklin County Community Development Corp., which assisted her after she presented her business plan to the organization.

Now that it’s off the ground, it’s up to the little things, like figuring out how much to stock the shelves and what produce people are looking for, and equally importantly, waiting for children in town to come by and grab an ice cream.

“This way they can get an ice cream and sit on the common,” Ciesluk said, looking out the glass windows to the front of the shop and toward the benches.

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