Berne store leased for Weilers’ family-community venture
BERNE — Ray Weiler says he was inspired by the customers of the Fox Creek Market and his family’s future to re-open the store that closed on March 7.
Weiler, who has lived in the Hilltowns for years, working as a general contractor, and his wife, Tammy, are the new keepers of the store and say the only major change will be a broadening of its hours. The doors open on June 1. The market is still owned by Joe and Caroline McMahon, leased to the Weilers with option to purchase.
“I actually did this for my family, as well as the community,” said Weiler. “I started working when I was 12 years old, for Bob Whipple on a farm, and I’ve been breaking my back ever since, so, if I can help my family in any way…”
When the store closed, the Weiler famliy was affected. The Weilers’ daughter, Mackenzie, who spends most of her day at Berne-Knox-Westerlo schools, dropped in sometimes for water, or even dinner. Under the McMahons, the store adopted dinner specials, which the Weilers plan to continue — chicken parmesan, baked ziti, and prime rib.
Everything else on the menu, as well as the store’s groceries, delivery service, and craft beers, are slated to remain, Weiler said. A new ice-cream cooler is stocked full of Hershey’s products.
“There’s times when we’ve had winter snowstorms where we couldn’t get down to Altamont and we would come here for a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk, because we could,” Weiler, 44, said of Fox Creek Market.
Weiler owns Performance Contracting, which he said will continue. He and his family live in Knox.
The Weilers will incorporate suggestions from the community to carry baking supplies and paper products, and to extend the store’s hours. On weekdays, the store will be open from 6 a.m to 9 p.m. The store will run from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays.
Weiler said he is grateful to the McMahons, who wanted to see the store continue to serve the community. Regarding a group of men who met at the store to talk over breakfast, Weiler said he would devote great respect and care.
“I came in here and those guys inspired me to actually open this,” Weiler said. “They had no place to go; these guys, a lot of them are retired and they’d like to get together and talk and have a cup of coffee.”
He added, “I know a bunch of them. One of them was my baseball coach when I was a teenager.”
The personal benefit, too, can be huge. Weiler said his daughter is going to help make fresh salads, and he hopes all of their four children will learn about finances.
“I mostly did this for the community,” he said. He acknowledged that running the store will be a serious task. “I’m hoping that it would be successful enough where my family, we don’t have to struggle and work like I did.”
— Marcello Iaia