“Why go to town” is the motto of the one-stop mom and pop shop Little Market in Bald Knob.
Not only do they offer convenience items and gasoline, they are also serving up deli items and lunch specials.
“A lot of people come in and are thankful we’re open, so they don’t have to go to town,” co-owner Katie Clark said. She owns the store with her fiancé, Dan Midkiff.
Clark and Midkiff bought the store, which is located at 7460 Bald Knob Road, in 2017 from longtime owner Ronnie Wright. The store was formerly known as Wright’s Grocery. Wright died in August 2019.
“Ronnie was up here a lot before passing away last year,” Clark said. “When he saw how we were operating, he was tickled and glad to see it up and running and taking care of the community.”
Clark and Midkiff did change some things at the store, including accepting credit-debit cards, but many things remain the same.
“We do free coffee and offer a free air compressor, which he did,” Midkiff said. “We carry that torch for Ronnie.”
The store continues to stay busy every day with customers, many of which are regulars who live in the area and others who make the drive north from the city.
“The community is great,” Clark said. “This is kind of like the key to the community. People come in here, get groceries, see other people. If the store wasn’t here, it would be such a loss to the community.
“They can get gas, diesel for their tractors, kerosene for winter heat. People out here are pretty awesome. Bald Knob has a reputation, but there are so many good people out there, and we’re seeing an influx of new people.”
Two of those customers are Mary Kelley and her son, Joe Kelley, who go to the store about once a week to have a patty melt or hamburger for lunch.
“This is the best store in Bald Knob,” Joe Kelley said.
Along with the patty melt and hamburgers, is a full lunch menu including BLTs, the Bald Knob hot brown, pulled pork, and one of the deli’s top sellers, the Bald Knob Club.
Seeming the store opens at 7:30 a.m. throughout the week, Clark and Midkiff also offer “breakfast on a bun,” which is a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich, as well as sausage sliders.
In the deli, Clark and Midkiff offer a variety of meat including bologna and country ham, which is the same country ham that the former Pic-Pac on Second Street used to sell.
Clark also makes and sells country ham salad, pimento cheese and chicken salad. The recipes are the same ones she used when she used to have the Little Market on Todd Street from 2001-04.
“The chicken salad has gone over really well, because it’s fresh,” Clark said. She makes the salads fresh about twice weekly.
The pimento cheese dip is another popular item. The recipe, Clark said, was handed down to her from a woman she used to work with at the market on Todd Street.
The country ham salad is another favorite.
“Katie’s country ham salad is unique,” Midkiff said. “I think the Granny Smith apples make it so good, and she puts cranberries in there. Those two things take the saltiness of the country ham down and makes it the perfect blend.”
When she’s not working at the store, Clark likes to spend time on her farm located about a mile from the store. She lives on the property that used to be owned by Flag Fork Herb Farm, which is fitting because one of her hobbies is growing medicinal herbs. She used to have a business called Porchtown Herbals. She made tea mixtures and sold plants at the farmers market. She also used to teach gardening classes at the old Bald Knob School.
“My eventual goal is to grow more plants and do more gardening,” Clark said.
Midkiff’s future goal is to turn the old Hilltop Market on Bald Knob Road, not far from the Little Market, into a trader village. He has already purchased the property.
“Katie can have an herb stand,” Midkiff said. “We could have a produce stand and other cool things Bald Knobbers would bring to the table to sell. Maybe we could have a little auction. It would be good for Frankfort.”
Clark and Midkiff plan to run the Little Market until they can find someone dedicated and who is community minded to take it over.
“We’re not corporate,” Clark said. “It’s a mom and pop operation. People appreciate the smaller country stores. We’re the last country store in Franklin County.”
Little Market is open 7:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. on Saturday. The store is closed on Sunday.
For more information, follow @BaldKnobsLittleMarket on Facebook.
Katie’s cheese dip
1 pound shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup mayo
2 tablespoons Flag Fork Herb “Zippy Beer Cheese Mix” (can purchase online or at Little Market)
1 teaspoon ground jalapeno
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon pickapeppa
½ cup of Ale-8
Mix together mayo, Flag Fork Herb “Zippy Beer Cheese Mix,” ground jalapeno, Worcestershire sauce, pickapeppa and Ale-8. Then add the shredded cheddar cheese. Chill for several hours. Pimento cheese could also be added.
Serve with crackers, pretzels, on a sandwich, or use to make a grilled cheese sandwich.