By Louise Swartzwalder — Galion Inquirer
BELLVILLE – The long-time market in Bellville, Stoodt’s, was reported to be closing at 8 p.m. Saturday.
The store was running a 50 percent off sale Saturday and customers were taking advantage of the special prices.
Store owner Jason Potes could not be reached for comment. A woman answering the phone at the register would not give her name, but did say the store was closing.
If Bellville does lose the market, it will be a surprise to village officials.
Mayor Teri Brenkus said she and other village officials were waiting to comment to see if “in fact” the closing was happening.
She said village officials didn’t know anything about this closing, and that “nothing had been brought” to their attention.
Customers said there had been rumors and dwindling stock, and news spread on Facebook recently that the store would close as of 8 p.m.
Potes bought the market from Bernie and Sharon Holler in early 2016. The long-time market’s original owner was George Stoodt.
Potes has been active in the community and had been a member of Bellville Village Council, having been appointed to fill a vacant seat. Community-minded, he was a benefactor of BNOC- the Bellville Neighborhood Outreach Center.
He took steps to expand the Stoodt’s business, adding upgrades on a number of fronts, including putting in beer and wine sales.
In an attempt to keep up with other markets in the area, he also upgraded the Stoodt’s Market website so customers could order product online and have it delivered.
Originally from Fredericktown, Potes expanded his reach in 2018, when re-opened the former Geyer’s Market in Lexington and operated it as Main Street Market. It offered the same customer-service perks as the Bellville store. But within a year, the Main Street Market closed.
In February 2019, Potes was honored by the Richland Area Chamber of Commerce and RCDG with an Economic Excellence Awards. That Business Excellence Award was given to a business that has experienced strong growth, capital investment, product development, and civic involvement.