Main photo: Main West Variety owners Joel and Amy Jones (at left) with baby Tate, Debbie Knobelsdorf, Wren Jones, and Rose Blanchette (Photo courtesy of Joel Jones)
Main West Variety, formerly known as Westside Variety, has new owners and with them comes some family history.
As a child, Amy Jones grew up in the shop.
Her grandparents Rose and Armand discovered Huntsville while cottaging here in 1979 and decided to start their own variety store.
After expanding their offerings to a sit-down restaurant—Westside Fish and Chips—in 1983, the food ended up being so popular that the couple needed to buy the house next door and turn that into the variety store.
Amy grew up in the store and restaurant and remembers being paid a quarter to fill ice bags.
Her grandparents sold the variety store in the 1990s and it has been operated by many different owners since then. However, Jones’ grandmother retained ownership of both buildings and her mom, Debbie Knobelsdorf, now runs Westside Fish and Chips.
When Amy and her husband Joel learned that the store was for sale again, they decided to jump on their dream of owning their own retail space.
Amy has a background in business consulting and is currently on maternity leave from the YWCA, while Joel owns a property maintenance business as well as his own photography business. Joel and Amy have big plans for their newest venture and are planning a total transformation of the shop.
“Amy and I have talked for years how cool it would be to own a store. We can’t wait for the shop to evolve into something bigger than a variety store,” said Joel.
They officially took over the store on October 1.
Some of their plans for the store include a Canada Post room, local photography and other art, stationary and cards by local makers, and a carafe area featuring a local coffee brand, as well as the staples and convenient items typically found at variety stores.
“You often don’t realize that variety stores are staples in the community. People have relied on this shop for years and having a store available to the west side of town is really important,” said Amy.
The couple will be hands-on business owners, noted Joel, running the store themselves, and plan to keep the shelves always stocked with essentials as well as snacks and treats. In the future they want to also have locally grown food options and locally sourced bread and other baked goods.
“My grandma deserves a lot of credit because we wouldn’t have done this without her,” said Amy. “She has been so supportive of our family my whole life. She has such a big heart and giving fuels her soul. Having her advice has been crucial in all of this.”
Main West Variety is located at 128 Main Street West. The store will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m on Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.
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