Juleea Hawk and Dusty Boyd fell in love with the La Honda area instantly. They had come to check out the La Honda Country Market and consider running it — but they didn’t have to consider for long.
“The day we landed, we were sold,” Hawk said. “We saw the beautiful redwoods and the ocean and just decided to stay.”
After a hiatus this winter, the La Honda Country Market on Highway 84 is open again under their new leadership. The store, which former management wrote closed “due to many different circumstances” late last year, is open and running with a deli and fully stocked shelves.
It is the only grocery store serving the area, and Hawk said they plan to stay open and serve the La Honda community during the COVID-19 outbreak. The pair opened the store on Feb. 21 and had planned a grand opening event for March 21, but that has been postponed.
Hawk and Boyd moved from Hawaii’s big island, where they found success running similar community markets. Hawk calls Boyd a market expert, and she is his protegee.
She said getting the store up and running in just a few weeks was a challenge, but Boyd’s and her expertise came in handy. They sorted through all the stock left over from the previous store, got rid of any expired food and started reaching out to vendors to put in as many orders as they could. They also hired — and are still hiring — new staff.
“We wanted to open with it fully stocked, as much as possible,” Hawk said.
Now, Hawk and Boyd are asking people for suggestions on what they want to see in the store and making improvements and updates little by little. Hawk said she wants to make sure the store provides the essentials but also fits into the community. For the grand opening, Hawk said, the pair had planned a big community event with music, barbecue, wine tasting and booths from local groups and artists. They hope to reschedule the event to celebrate the reopening with their new community.
Since the outbreak, Hawk said, business has increased, with customers buying out milk, eggs and bread, but the store still has plenty of groceries. She is putting in a triple order for the usual perishables this week.
She said she’s heard from locals asking if they will consider delivering food to those who don’t want to leave their houses during the outbreak. Hawk said they are looking at working with local volunteer groups to make delivery a possibility.
“If it gets bad enough and people are running out of food and our shelves are full, we’d like to do what we can to help,” Hawk said.