In tough times, family opens Browerville food market

“People always have to eat,” said Robert McDowell of his family’s decision to open the Cherry Grove Market in difficult economic times.

Situated on the south edge of Browerville in central Minnesota, next door to the new Lakewood Health System Clinic, the newly built store has only been open a couple of weeks. Its shelves packed with plastic bags and containers, the store is a Mecca for home bakers, carrying baking supplies packaged in quantities from five to 50 pounds and sporting the Cherry Grove Market label.

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Buying in bulk, the McDowell family repackages everything from flour to nuts and candy in the spacious kitchen filling the east half of the building, reserving the west side for retail space.

The kitchen also produces fresh baked goods and pizzas. A nut grinder allows for custom nut blends and a large stainless steel honey dispenser makes filling containers of any size a simple thing. The store also carries bulk cheeses, cured meats, “like-home” canned foods in jars, pickles, salsas, jams and pie fillings, pastas, dried fruits, herbs, spices, bulk cereals and fresh produce in season. Books and some gift items are also stocked.

Browerville’s new building incentive program paid for the sewer and water hook-ups to help the start-up business. The McDowell family’s own construction company, Lakeland Contractors, built the 6,700-square-foot building, also helping to keep the costs in check. Robert and Linda McDowell have not only brought a new business to the area, they’ve added jobs and contributed to youth retention by involving three of their own children in the business.

The market is open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with an hour earlier closing on Wednesdays. As with the family’s Mennonite tradition, the store is closed on Sundays.

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