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Walkerville group to host fundraiser for corner grocery store

Walkerville group to hold fundraiser to bring back the corner store
Posted at 6:29 PM, Jan 19, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-22 10:57:55-05

WALKERVILLE — There was a time in Butte’s history when little corner stores and mercantiles dotted the neighborhoods, and a group from Walkerville is revitalizing a historic building to bring back the nostalgia of the corner store. But beyond nostalgia, they say that there’s actually a need for this kind of store in this area.

"There’s no access to groceries or food up in Walkerville and there used to be, you know, dozens of little grocery stores all around Butte," says Daniel Hogan, a co-owner of the historic building that began as a grocery store and was used as a church.

"We kind of, I guess, are upset that we missed that era."

Hogan says work on the historic building has been taking place for the past seven years.

"We’re kind of on track. The building itself was about to fall down. There was no roof on the back third and where there was no roof, there was no floor below it," says Hogan, adding that they had to fix the south wall of the building before it collapsed into the street.

The group of novice carpenters has seen tremendous progress—they've added an entire roof and rebuilt all of the trusses—but the three main people working on the building can only spend about one day a week. Hogan says there are good days and bad days on the project.

"There was a rock wall in the basement. The rock wall had fallen down, so we had to move all the rocks and I felt kind of like I was in a prisoner of war camp, just moving large rocks from one side of the room to another side the room in a dark pit," he says.

The team is focused on manual labor at the moment but do they even know anything about owning a grocery store?

"We knew nothing about laying brick and, you know, we did alright with that, and I feel like if we can learn how to lay brick we can learn how to run a grocery store," says Hogan with a little chuckle.

The goal of the project is to provide the citizens of Walkerville with access to basic necessities, but they are also planning to add a commercial kitchen with deli-style food, and recently they partnered with a coffee roaster.

And Hogan does have experience with working in the restaurant industry. He went to culinary school and is a trained chef.

"You know, you need an onion or potato or some milk or eggs or sugar and you don’t have to run all the way downtown for it."

The group has spent about $170,000 from grant funding and personal funds on this project. Now, they are hosting a fundraiser on Jan. 27 at the Knights of Columbus Hall from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. For $15 you can get a cheeseburger and side salad made by Hogan.

There will also be items featured for a silent auction and a chance to pick the name of the future corner store.