By Michael Howell
Missoula grocery store owner Jim Edwards, Jr. has applied for a business license to operate a grocery store in Stevensville. The store will open in the same building that his father, Jim Edwards, Sr. owned and where he operated Bi-Lo Grocery for many years. In many ways this will be a homecoming for Edwards Jr.
But he’s coming home with some experience under his belt. He is the owner of the highly successful Pattee Creek Market on 39th Street in Missoula.
Contacted about the license, Edwards said that his aim was to open a store that specializes in organic and locally produced foods. He is bringing not only his experience to Stevensville, he is bringing his wine selection from the Missoula store. He says it is something that has distinguished the Pattee Creek Market. He said he is also bringing in the brew selection.
“Our aim is to carry as much locally produced merchandise as possible,” said Edwards, with the caveat that the price has to be within reason.
“There is some organic produce that is priced so high that I just have to say, ‘Good luck with that,’” he said. He said if the price was right and the quality good he was definitely going to support local produce.
Work crews have been seen coming and going from the place lately. He said that a lot of work needs to be done. He said someone took all the copper out of the building and it has to be replaced. There is also some remodeling required. On the outside there will, of course, be changes in the signage and a new coat of paint on the building.
“You’ll probably also be seeing some interesting artwork on the side of the building,” he said.
He is hoping for a fall opening.
He’s also got a name. The last store to operate in the building was called Cottonwood Market.
“I don’t know where they got that name,” said Edwards. “I’m not going to name mine after a weed. I’m calling it the Burnt Fork Market. That’s tied into the community. The Burnt Fork runs right into it.” He said there would definitely be a local flavor in the store.
“I grew up in Stevensville,” said Edwards. “I am local and I hope to heck that people support it, it’s a big investment.”
He said he was open to suggestions and would be hiring soon. He expects to hire 30 employees.