Earlier this month, Betsy and Nick Jones took over ownership of the Village Market, located at the corner of West Brooklyn Street and Chase Avenue. They intend to implement a variety of changes, including longer hours, delivery, a pizza oven and hiring student workers.
The Market moved to its current location in 2017, after occupying Farr Hall for more than twenty years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Market sharply reduced its hours due to staffing shortages, causing frustration for students accustomed to frequenting the Market later in the evening.
The Joneses, Gambier residents and parents of two, saw potential in the Market and jumped at the chance to take ownership of it. The couple lived in Charlotte and Columbus before settling in Gambier two years ago, near Nick’s hometown of Mount Vernon.
“[We have] no real background experience in groceries,” said Betsy Jones, “just a passion to serve our community and to give the college kids a place where we can meet them, get to know them, their personal lives, their families.”
One of the biggest changes the Joneses have made to the establishment is the expansion of the Market’s hours. The Market is now open from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Monday and from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Sunday.
The Joneses also have plans to add a pizza oven to the deli area within the next couple of weeks, as well as delivery service to buildings on campus by means of a golf cart. The deli will stop serving pre-sliced deli meats and focus on pizza, Market dogs, soups, tacos and a few sandwiches.
The Market, which had rarely hired college students in past years, now has 13 student workers, with plans to hire more once the pizza oven is installed. Although all the shifts are filled at the moment, Jones encourages students to fill out an application anyway.
“There’s no reason not [to hire college students],” Jones said. “This is their store too.”
Jones expressed her gratitude for the Kenyon community. “We’re very thankful for everybody in how welcoming they have been to us,” she said. “We’ll get the Village Market back up and running and see big things.”