Editorial: Ciesluk’s Market is just what South Deerfield needs

Friday, June 08, 2018

It’s a delight to see new life in what for years had been a key feature of the South Deerfield village: a local food market on the town common.

The store that many people will remember fondly as Sugarloaf Market has reopened as Ciesluk’s Market, whose owner is a member of a farm family with roots in the town.

Nicole Ciesluk said she kept walking by the vacant market, thinking about the possibility of reviving the store so it could once again serve locals who might otherwise have to travel to Greenfield, Amherst or Northampton supermarkets. The last iteration of the market, which was called Garden City Market, has been closed for a while now and never made that much of a lasting impression, except that its name was so incongruous.

Then in June of last year, Ciesluk finally made the move. She comes off years managing the Ciesluk farm stand, which has flourished farther north on Routes 5 and 10, but she has now struck out on her own.

The market sells locally and regionally sourced food like Arnold’s Meats from Chicopee and milk from Hadley’s Mapleline Farm, cider doughnuts from North Hadley, fresh baked breads from Pittsfield. There’s Easthampton bagels, breakfast burritos using eggs from Ciesluk’s home, regional coffees and sandwiches. Plans include lottery tickets, a beer and wine license but no cigarettes.

Maybe in time she can fine tune that product line to feature products that are even more locally sourced, like sweet corn and fresh produce from the Ciesluk or other Franklin County farms.

“I wanted to bring something that the town is lacking — a good market,” Ciesluk told the Recorder after she opened.

Ciesluk, who’s running the business with partner 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” where they can sit on a bench, enjoy the fountain and just watch the world go by in the small-town village.

That sounds good to us, and we suspect that it will appeal as well to the soon-to-come residents of the 72-dwelling condominium project for seniors taking shape at the foot of Mount Sugarloaf. That will put within walking distance a potentially loyal, well-heeled clientele of retirees looking for a friendly local food market with character that they can call their own. Ciesluk’s timing is smart.

Her goals are simple, she says: “Just serving the public. Making people happy. Serving a good product.” That’s usually a recipe for success.

And while there are plenty of unknowns about starting such a business, and lots of long hours and hard work ahead, Ciesluk has been encouraged by the support she’s received since starting. Like many small startups in Franklin County, Ciesluk received help with a business plan from the Franklin County Community Development Corp., and is getting lots of moral support from friends and family.

Now, let’s see if Ciesluk’s Market gets the financial support it deserves from its South Deerfield patrons.