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A club specializing in the sale of natural, locally grown food is relocating to the site of a former downtown staple.
The Heartland Whole Life Buying Club is leasing the former Town & Country clothing store building on Public Square in Elizabethtown and will open Nov. 30 in its new home on, said Serena Erizer, a club founder.
Heartland Whole Life stocks an array of fresh and organic produce and locally sourced meats alongside farm-fresh cheeses, eggs, nuts, dried goods, organic flour and sugar, spices, oils and herbs, Erizer said. The organization has an herbalist on staff available for consultations.
“We’re kind of a one-stop shop,” she said.
Those who want to join the club can do so at a one-time membership fee of $125. Twenty-five dollars is required to begin and the remaining $100 must be paid in the first four months, she said.
The club offers free passes and plans to develop tiered membership prices and other promotional concepts as it grows, such as drop-off points around the community, Erizer said.
The membership fee is required, she said, because it helps the club cover operational costs without taking on loans and absorbing large amounts of debt. The store is open on Monday, Tuesday and Saturday but could expand hours.
In recent years, the food club has partnered with farmers on a Community Supported Agriculture program to supply residents with baskets of food over several weeks in the summer and sponsored a registered farmer’s market. Additionally, it offers the use of a far infrared sauna, she said.
Erizer said the transition may be “rough” at first because the store still will closely resemble the clothing store in decor and style. Erizer said Heartland plans to replace the flooring and make other improvements but likely will renovate the shop in phases.
The club was started around seven years ago by Erizer and friend Lori Smith, operating originally out of Erizer’s garage. As interest and business grew, it expanded and currently operates out of a suite at 2608 Ring Road next to Advantacare Chiropractic Wellness Center. The sale of that location ignited a search for a new facility as Erizer learned Town & Country was for sale.
Erizer said the location is a strong fit and will provide something new to the downtown area. Like others who have transplanted into downtown, she expressed a desire to be part of a greater revitalization she believes is attainable as more shops emerge.
“We’re kind of a destination,” she said.
Local businessman Kevin Addington agreed to buy the building and lease the property to the club. Addington said time was of the essence, thinking the store may sell before Erizer and her business associates could get their finances in order.
Addington said he has a contract for the facility and is in the process of closing on the acquisition. He supports the food club’s mission and believes it is a needed asset for downtown.
“I’m just happy to do it,” he said. “I have an affection for old buildings.”
With around 4,000-square feet to work with, Erizer said the food club roughly will quadruple in size. She believes the new development was “led by God” and said it is supported by their customers.
“Oh, they’re ecstatic,” she said. “We’re really happy about that.”
Town & Country owner Jane Clauson closed the store earlier this year after about 60 years in business, citing her health as one of the main reasons.
Marty Finley can be reached at 270-505-1762 or email@example.com.