Family-owned food and beverage service in Sedalia will decrease with the closing of two well-known businesses, Country Bumpkin Catering LLC on West Main Street, and Wine and More, located on South Limit Avenue.
Owners of both businesses said they wanted to devote more time to family and to themselves.
Turf Martin, owner of Wine and More, said the business, that has been open for eight years, will permanently close its doors by mid-May. Wine and More first opened in Downtown Sedalia at Second Street and Ohio Avenue. It moved to its location at 3200 S. Limit Ave. three years ago.
Martin said there were several reasons behind closing the business.
“We don’t make enough return to be an absentee owner,” Martin noted. “I have to be here.”
He added that it wasn’t feasible to hire more than one part-time employee. Since the shop is a specialty wine and craft beer store it has more overhead. This is particularly due to the business being somewhat new to the market and because they didn’t sell other high-volume items such as cigarettes and lottery tickets.
“Profit is price tag plus volume, and we don’t have the huge volume coming in because we chose to take a little more of a specialized approach,” he said.
Martin added he was trying to carry items other shops were not carrying.
“We have dealt with close to 15 different wholesalers, for wine for example,” he said. “Most of our competition deals with three or four.”
Martin explained that most of Sedalia’s package stores tend to market classic beers instead of craft.
“Sedalia is more of a classic, domestic beer town, if you will,” he noted. “But there is an exceptional interest in specialty beers. People have really enjoyed coming in and being able to purchase one, two, three or 11 so they could try different things, plus get things they couldn’t get anywhere else in town. So that’s been good.”
Martin, who is the deacon of the Catholic Churches assigned to Pettis County, said he hopes to spend more time working on the farm he owns, plus taking in a game of golf. Closing the business will also free up time for him to travel and minister at different area Catholic churches.
“There’s been no time to basically take care of the things I need to take care of in my private life,” he said. “Or have the time to take vacation or enjoy things outside of work. I haven’t played golf in eight years.”
Known for his wine tasting and pairing dinners, Martin said he will still give private wine dinners in homes upon request. He will also be available to teach others about wine.
“I’m not going away,” he noted. “It’s been wonderful getting to know so many of our customers, and teaching Sedalia people about wine, and its role in our culture. The wine dinners were very well attended and those were a great enjoyment.”
Martin said he plans to remain an active member of the community and hopes to one day go back to acting in plays at the Liberty Center Association for the Arts.
To reduce the inventory Martin is having a special sale on wine by the case. At the end of April, he will begin selling the dry goods in the shop and in June he’ll auction off the store’s equipment.
Brenda Hilt, co-owner with Rick Lewis, of Country Bumpkin Catering, said the business, that was open for 13 years, closed March 21. She will miss the clients the most.
Hilt said she and Lewis felt it was time to close the business due to many factors and life changes. The closing is bittersweet.
Lewis’s wife Cathy died five years ago, and Hilt said she was recently divorced. Lewis, who works full time for Ditzfield Transfer, also began to work more on Saturdays.
“Since Cathy passed away I’ve been doing most of the cooking myself,” Hilt added. “Everything’s changing. It’s been a big struggle deciding what to do.”
Hilt said she has many fond memories of customers and clients including the Missouri State Fair Grandstand entertainers.
“The Grandstand entertainers, that’s been so much fun,” she noted. “We’ve done those for the last eight years.”
She enjoyed catering to Candy Coburn during the MSF.
“I know she’s not a big name, but she was the sweetest person to work with,” Hilt said.”They were just all so super nice.”
She added too, that she’d always wanted to work for a Hobby Lobby. When she found out one was coming to Sedalia she decided it would be a good fit.
“For years and years I’ve said ‘I’m going to work at a Hobby Lobby someday,’” she said. “I love to work with people and that’s what I’m going to miss down at Country Bumpkin.
“So many of them have become friends over the years,” she added. “I’ve had lots of people wishing me well, and they’re going to miss me. People are saying ‘what are we going to do?’”
Hilt has referred County Bumpkin customers to Table of 5 Catering at 660-864-7461.
Faith Bemiss can be reached at 530-0289 or @flbemiss.