Lockhart business owners open grocery store in Martindale
By Wesley Gardner
Taylor and Austin Burge, owners of Chaparral Coffee in downtown Lockhart, had wanted to open a small grocery store for years but something always stood the way.
The buildings they wanted to rent required too much work. The timing didn’t work out on a deal. But when COVID-19 shut down many businesses throughout the area, they finally saw an opportunity to turn their dream into reality.
Thus, Good Things Grocery, which is located at the old Merchants and Planters Bank on Main Street in Martindale was born.
According to Taylor, the idea behind the small local grocery store was to provide Caldwell County shoppers with affordable, healthy food options that would typically require a trip to Austin to obtain.
“Martindale is for sure a food desert,” said Taylor. “They only have a Dollar General in town. “Personally, I think Dollar Generals and Family Dollars do a complete disservice to these small, lower-income, rural communities when they pop up and just sell junk. I firmly believe that people want to eat better, but they don’t have access to it.”
Taylor said the grocery store contains plenty of options for vegans and people with gluten-free diets, as well as a large selection of locally bought produce and milk.
“It’s been awesome to see people come in who were just looking for eggs and milk, and I’m able to sell them quality products that are also supporting local farmers and producers, and that’s just so important to us,” said Taylor. “We’ve got local produce and items that you just can’t get in this area.”
One of those items is Dave’s Killer Bread, which Taylor noted has seen its stock reduced at HEB. Another is Canyon Big House, and gluten-free brand of bread that’s also difficult to find in Caldwell County.
Taylor stressed that the new grocery store should not be viewed as a shop that’s aiming to please high-dollar customers.
“I’m not trying to do a hipster shopping market,” she said. “I’m not trying to do a bougie shopping market.
“I really don’t want to alienate the lower-income people that aren’t used to purchasing organic foods. I want to show them that there are ways for them to affordably eat better.”
Because of COVID-19, Taylor said she believes her customers are in a great position to make healthy changes to their diets.
“[COVID-19] was kind of the catalyst for doing this because everyone got out of their routines,” said Taylor. “If we had started this before COVID began, it wouldn’t have been as successful, because people were in their routines and their habits. People were shaken up because of that, so they’re really primed to change their habits.”
Taylor noted one of the draws of the store is its kid friendly atmosphere.
“I’m kind of obsessed with toys for kids, so I’ve incorporated some different grocery themed toys, like wooden vegetables that you can slice through,” said Taylor. “I really believe that if we can involve our children in the selecting and preparing of foods, that that we’ll better step them up as adults to care about what they’re putting in their body.”
According to Taylor, Good Things Grocery also has tiny shopping carts so kids can help their parents as they shop. It also has a space in the back with toys designated for children to play while their parents shop.
“Kids are just loving,” she said. “Kids like to be seen, and when you put some things out for them that are specifically geared toward them, that makes the kids feel better about it.
“When the kids feel better about it, the parents feel better about it.”
Taylor noted that the store is in the process of obtaining a beer and wine license, though delays due to COVID-19 have slowed the process.
One thing that initially caught Taylor by surprise was the number of customers coming from outside of Martindale.
“We’ve got people coming in from Fentress,” said Taylor. “We’ve got people coming in from this side of San Marcos.
“We’ve got people coming in from this side of Kyle. Even people from Dale are coming, so really, this little grocery shop has been serving all of Caldwell County from what I can tell. The response has been great.”
Hours of operation for Good Eats Grocery can be found at www.goodthingsgrocery.com