Under new owner, Montague Village Store looks to rebrand

  • Kathy Lynch took over ownership of the Montague Village Store in Montague Center in the beginning of June, when her parents retired. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Kathy Lynch is the new owner of the Montague Village Store in Montague Center. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Wine, beer, spirits and groceries are stocked at the Montague Village Store in Montague Center. Pictured is new owner Kathy Lynch. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • The Montague Village Store’s new owner, Kathy Lynch, has opened a contest for locals to design the store’s new logo. Submissions are welcome through July 24. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 7/16/2020 12:47:27 PM

MONTAGUE CENTER — Recently under new ownership, the Montague Village Store on Main Street is rethinking its relationship with its community — both in its product offerings, and in the way the store styles and brands itself.

Kathy Lynch, who took over ownership of the store in June when her parents retired, has opened a contest for locals to design the store’s new logo.

The logo design should incorporate the name of the store, and should only use one color. Incorporating a community theme is a plus. Contest entries should be submitted by email, as JPEG or PNG files, to montaguevillagestore@gmail.com by July 24. The prize is $200 in cash, plus a swag bag from some of the store’s vendors.

Lynch said the design contest is part of her revamping of the store since taking over. It’s also a timely response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has put a stop to most community events, and has made it difficult for local artists and designers to find work.

Discussing her vision for the store, Lynch emphasizes its unique role as a community hub in the small village of Montague Center.

“It’s a business, granted. But it’s also been a center point for Montague for over 100 years,” she said. “I would like the store to focus on the community and embrace the community, wherever it’s at.”

The store has been in Lynch’s family since her parents bought it in the 1980s.

Now, as owner, Lynch is making an effort to re-establish the store as a neighborhood alternative to the larger supermarkets that Montague Center residents can only reach by driving, she said.

Part of that is to reconsider the kinds of food the store stocks. Lynch said she wants to focus on foods that are healthier and that come from diverse parts of the world, as compared to what a neighborhood store might typically stock.

A new kitchen, which will probably be operational by the end of the month, will be able to serve fresh and prepared foods, she added. She also plans to serve hot Korean dinners a few nights a week and to stock kimchi in the fridge, reflecting her own cultural background.

She is also investigating innovative business models that would allow the store to stock more locally sourced food.

For example, she said, a local baker normally might not be willing to deliver fresh bread daily to a small store with a limited customer base, because it wouldn’t make enough money to justify the delivery cost.

So, Lynch has been working with other small grocery stores in neighboring towns to create collaborative relationships in which they will be able to collectively purchase in large enough quantities that it should be viable to work with local sources, she said.

Lynch believes the COVID-19 pandemic has actually helped small stores like hers that sell groceries. She noted that small stores seem to have seen a small increase in business, as people may be hesitant to visit larger, more highly populated supermarkets.

She has also noticed the social value of the Montague Village Store, saying how impressed she has been by locals’ enthusiasm and support for the business.

“If you’re a member of this community and you own a business, you don’t just have customers. You have relationships,” Lynch said. “I feel like I have the best customers on the planet. The people in Montague Center and the customers have been so welcoming.”

Reach Max Marcus at mmarcus@recorder.com or 413-930-4231.


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