Businesses all across St. Joseph have dealt with financial difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic and for Friedrich’s Market it became too much and caused the closure of its storefront.
Owners Dan and Nicole Radke said even though it was a sad and difficult decision to make, it was an opportunity to find out what’s working and what isn’t in the business.
“It’s more how can we take the best parts of those things and revamp it in a way that’s good for the community,” Nicole Radke said.
After looking back at what the business has accomplished in the last three years, Radke is very satisfied with the market’s work.
“It’s a sad situation that we don’t have the storefront anymore, but we made so many good connections with people,” Radke said.
In the three years Radke worked on educating people on how to cook from home and plant things in a garden and she feels that she did her job.
Going forward, the business plans to participate in more flexible opportunities, including farmers markets.
“Our focus is on the health of our family, making sure that we make financial decisions that are sustainable long term and also seeing that what people are buying is changing,” Radke said.
Radke noticed when the business shifted to online that people were buying the essentials rather than just something they wanted.
“Online sales just wasn’t enough to keep us going,” Radke said. “Literally, at the end of the day, we end up paying in.”
Now Radke said they’re connecting customers directly to the person creating a product rather than being the middle man.
A large amount of the decision to close also depended on federal funding available for the business.
“We didn’t qualify for PPP or anything like that so our resources were very limited,” Radke said.
The biggest takeaway Radke wants people to realize is that everything changes in life and it’s important to be aware of what could possibly happen in the future and how that’ll impact a business.
“If we tried to force the model we had before then we were just putting off the inevitable,” Radke said.
The Radkes are taking it day by day, but are excited for a blank slate to create new opportunities for the business and community.