BUCKHANNON – An 18-year-old Flatwoods staple has relocated to Buckhannon’s Main Street to offer a unique array of goods, sandwiches and ice cream.
Pamela Widener-Stout, the owner of the Bulk Food Superstore, said the new Buckhannon location opened its doors about two weeks ago.
“We did a soft opening, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know people and talking to people, and I think it’s been going very well,” Widener-Stout said. “I love Buckhannon because the downtown is so wildly successful. I love all the businesses, and I feel like I can bring something unique here to the platform and still complement all the other businesses.”
The store’s Flatwoods location closed last summer after being open for 18 years.
“My goal is to take the best of those 18 years – the best products, services, sandwiches – and apply it to a slightly smaller platform,” Widener-Stout said. “I try to have things you can’t find other places, whether that’s old-fashioned candy or strange sandwiches, canned goods from Amish country or hand-dipped ice cream.”
The shop is located on Main Street next to Stone Tower Brews, and Widener-Stout is working to finalize its hours of operation.
“We were going to be open seven days a week, but because I do want that simple platform, we will probably close one day a week,” Widener-Stout said. “That also gives my future employees a break, and it gives me time to work on my business. Right now, I’m just trying to discern which day of the week that should be.”
She said customers can expect the store to be open at 11 a.m. and to close at 6 p.m., except on special occasions like the West Virginia Strawberry Festival, when hours may be extended. The Buckhannon-Upshur community can expect a grand opening to take place near the end of July.
“I want to get our inventory built up, and I’m still listening to customers and what they want,” Widener-Stout said. “Some people have already asked me about different products and whether I would have them here. For instance, one customer asked about our spices, and I want the store to look good when I do that grand opening.”
Widener-Stout said some of her most popular items are the store’s Reuben and Rachel sandwiches.
“I’m a foodie, and the Rachel and Reuben are my favorite sandwiches,” she said. “I also like the peanut butter Buckeyes or the roasted sesame sticks. I haven’t started doing this yet, but I will be doing fresh-ground peanut butter and honey-roasted peanut butter — that’s my favorite thing — and the chocolate double-dipped peanuts are probably my best-selling candy.”
She said they also try to have unique ice cream flavors not found anywhere else.
“Our ice cream is wonderful,” Widener-Stout said. “We try to have different flavors that you don’t normally see, like Lemon Cheesecake — that’s one of my favorites — and the Banana Pudding. I just try to have things you can’t find at many other places.”
Widener-Stout said she grew up in the grocery store business, and her children grew up with her store.
“My mom and dad had a chain of grocery stores when I was growing up, and my dad started the original Bulk Foods in Flatwoods 18 years ago,” she said. “He wanted to retire from the grocery business, and he did, so he sold all of these stores, and then he got bored and opened up the little Flatwoods store.”
Widener-Stout eventually purchased the well-known Flatwoods store.
“I’ve always worked for my parents, and then I bought the Flatwoods store from my mom several years ago officially, and it’s all I’ve ever known,” she said. “This started as a local family business, and that’s what it still is. Even though I don’t live here in Buckhannon, I know what it takes to run something local, and we will support this community. We have always loved Buckhannon, and I feel good about my start; we’ve had a lot of great feedback.”