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1997: Arnie’s Market set to close after 18 years in business

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Throwback Thursday

Oct. 22, 1997

HARTINGTON — A closing business on Main Street has many community members in disappointment.

After 18 years of work and dedication to the Hartington community, Arnie and Rita Topf have decided to close Arnie’s Market.

“Our group is disappointed in the closing,” said Chris Miller, president of the Hartington Economic Development. “It was a surprise to the group.”

Since Hartington’s beginning in 1883, having only one grocery store in town has been very rare. With Arnie’s closing, Foodtown will try and win over Arnie’s customer’s.

“We hope people will still shop in Hartington,” Miller said. “Those dollars spent keep turning around in Hartington. If you spend money at the grocery store that money, hopefully, turns around in Hartington.”

Miller said the group is actively trying to find a business to replace Arnie’s Market.

“We hope the store front gets replaced in the near future,” Miller said.

Jerry Stevens said its hard for the community when a business decides to close, especially on Main Street.

“Arnie’s has provided a great service throughout the years,” Stevens said.

“I think any time a business closes, it hurts the economic chemistry of a town,” Stevens said. “Hopefully the majority of the people will still shop in town.”

Two meat markets started the beginning of Hartington. Stevens Market and Ferris Market were still in operation in 1958, but in 1980 Stevens Market sold out to Arnie’s Market. Arnie Topf later bought what was Forinash Grocery Store, expanding his business to a grocery and meat market. Ferris Market closed some time before Stevens Market.

Arnie’s had two other grocery stores to compete with in its start, Your Bakery and Market and Foodtown. Foodtown was previously Ray’s Supersaver, but was bought in 1979 by Burnell Herbolsheimer.

Hartington has had as many as five grocery stores at a time. Some of which were Southside Market, People’s Store, Ferris Market, Council Oak, Mengshol’s, Anderson Grocery Store, Ray’s Supersaver, Arnie’s Market and Foodtown.

Long-time Hartington native Ralph Arens said, it’s discouraging to see the business close.

“I sure don’t like it,” Arens said. “I think it’s better to have two grocery stores, but most likely someone will buy it out.

As the business closes, Arens said he remembers when the town was really ‘booming’ in the 1950s with the different businesses and number of grocery stores; however, he said, “It seems to me a lot of young people are coming back to Hartington and building, so I think the building will be bought out.”

Saturday marks Arnie’s Market’s closing date.