BUSINESS BUZZ: Ashton General Store still a staple for locals, passers-by

'It’s really that customer interaction that makes everyday worth it'

This article is part of Business Buzz, a series designed to feature small businesses that make a big impact on the community. Participants featured will include the locally-owned businesses that make up the fabric of Osceola County.

REED CITY — Taking a quick, yet scenic, drive on 210th Avenue in Reed City to the small, quiet and peaceful little place called the Ashton General Store, a great relic of a time left behind.

Jeremy Kage will have been in his current position of supervisor and meat manager for four years once the calendar turns to April, after previously working at Vic’s Supermarket in Reed City prior to it going out of business. 

Kage said he enjoys the many one-on-one interactions he has had with customers over the better part of the previous four years.

“You’re seeing and interacting with every customer, getting to talk and engage with them, a little more than you can in an enclosed meat department in a grocery store setting,” Kage said. 

The Ashton General store has been a dependable staple for its customers, some of which pledge their loyalty to the store on virtually daily basis.

“There’s a lot of repeat customers, especially with the local customers here — we see some of them two or three times a day,” Kage said. “A lot of the same faces.”

During the summer, Kage said the store will typically start to see more visitors from other parts of the state coming through the doors of Ashton General Store.

Kage said it is the many return customers that makes his job so enjoyable on a daily basis.

“You start to really get to know them and call people by their names when they come in,” Kage said. “I know, if I came into a shop like that, I would really enjoy it. It’s really that customer interaction that makes everyday worth it.”

Kage said running the shop and offering as much customer service as possible can be difficult at times, but added that he is thankful for the staff at the general store and the many contributions made by it.

Fellow team members Chris White, who also works in the meat department, and Cindy Cox, who runs the grocery area, assist in many of the day-to-day activities within the store.

“It’s hard when you’re talking about a small shop,” Kage said. “We have a great team here, so that does help.”

In the age of COVID, finding help is oftentimes easier said than done, and that has also been the case from time-to-time at the store.

At the same rate, Kage said that overall business conducted during the initial period after the onset of the pandemic.

“We just got really busy for that first year of the pandemic,” Kage said. “We were busier than we’ve ever been; it was absolutely insane — open-to-close busy. That was a challenge, and every one of our team members was just pushed to the limit.”

That is the primary reason why Kage believes it is so important to shop local, particularly during the continued hardships brought on by COVID.

For Kage and his team members, a little bit of patience and understanding can go a long way.

“We’re here to help and do what we can,” Kage said.

10989 210th Ave., Reed City

(231) 832-3310

Monday-Saturday: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.