Pleasant View residents in need of a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread will no longer have to make the long haul into Cortez to fill their pantry shelves.
Allan and Elizabeth Bleak, owners of Pleasant View Vineyards, are remodeling a warehouse behind the Pleasant View post office to serve as the home of Pleasant View Mercantile, a small-town grocery store designed to provide a place for community, and necessities.
We want it to be a grocery store with dry goods and a deli, as well, Elizabeth Bleak said. Eventually it will have a little bit of everything, whatever the community needs.
The Bleaks decided to start the store partly out of concern for the community and partly out of a selfish desire to have a place to shop.
I have to make a 72-mile round trip any time I just need to get a gallon of milk, Elizabeth said. This is what we need here.
Bleak said she first began considering the idea of the grocery store shortly after she and Allan moved to the area in 2000. She discovered the post office was the place the community gathered, and while she enjoyed meeting other women at the facility, she just felt the community needed a different sort of space for gatherings.
We bought the post office building a few years after we moved here and set up our business in back, Elizabeth said, referring the couples contracting business, Preferred Contracting and Consulting. We just kept talking about what a great space it was and how it would work for a variety of purposes.
The 3,000-square-foot store will be equipped with a wall of refrigerator units, a walk-in cooler, normal shelving and a kitchen/prep area for deli sandwiches, breakfast burritos and other small food items.
With red and white tiled floors, old-fashioned ceiling fans and wood details, the Bleaks hope to decorate the store with a Western theme and stay close to the roots of Pleasant View.
We want it to appeal to the history of the area and make it a destination just as much as a store, Elizabeth said.
The Bleaks plan to make the market as locally focused as possible, and hope to contract with area producers to stock the shelves with local offerings. Elizabeth said she also hopes to feature the work of local artists at the store.
In addition to the commercial market, the store will also serve as the location for the local farmers market the Bleaks plan to host every Wednesday.
It is so much more than a store, Elizabeth said. It really is a place for the community to gather. We will have the farmers market and the elementary school can come here and the kids can see how the store operates and other people will gather here.
The Bleaks have grand plans for the store and the surrounding space. Elizabeth hopes to create a seating area near the post office, with a trellis and grapevines providing shade for those wanting to catch up with friends. There is talk of opening a wine tasting room adjacent to the grocery store, and discussions of the possibility of offering diesel fuel and a water dock.
We just want to offer the community some of the things it needs, Elizabeth said.
Though most would say this isnt the best time to jump into a start-up business, the Bleaks are confident the grocery store will be successful, if only by necessity.
It is a risk, and we have put a lot into it, Elizabeth said. But there are 1,600 people in a 10-mile radius of here and Im sure they are all tired of driving so far just to get milk.
The Pleasant View Mercantile is scheduled to open by Aug. 15.