Taking care of business in New Riegel

In its 50th year of business, Paul’s Market in New Riegel has new owners and a new name. The new Perry Street Market officially changed hands Dec. 1.

The store at 11 N. Perry St. is staying in the New Riegel “family,” as Larry and Mary Mathias, both New Riegel natives, purchased the business from Larry and Lori Bouillon.

“We didn’t want to see it close because it’s pretty important to the community,” said Mary Mathias, who will be handling most of the managerial duties while her husband continues running his farming and trucking businesses.

Although the Mathiases have been customers of Paul’s Market much of their lives, they never thought about owning it.

“There were some days I was up here three times,” Larry said. “It’s close to home.”

The Mathiases said the decision to buy the store actually came as a surprise – at first.

It started as a joke between Mary and a friend. The Bouillons already had another buyer in line, but the identity was unknown, so people were speculating.

Mary said she squelched that rumor, but the seed of an idea had been planted. And it grew.

Larry said he mentioned to former owner Larry Bouillon he might be interested if the sale didn’t go through.

The deal didn’t work out, so the Mathiases looked further into the matter.

“We went through our finances and decided it was feasible,” Mary said. “And here we are.”

The Mathias know operating the store will mean big changes for their family.

“We wanted a challenge,” Mary said, “and our kids can work here.”

She said the store is an opportunity for their eldest daughter, Heather, 24, who is hearing impaired, and for daughters Lindsay, 22, Shelby, 17, and Brooke, 15.

“They’re very helpful and very excited,” Mary said. “It’ll be a lifestyle change for us. We’ll be at the store more often.”

Since the Mathias family took over, Mary said community members have had lots of good comments.

“They’re so grateful that it’s going to stay open,” she said. “It’s just a unique little store.”

But it isn’t only New Riegel people who patronize the store.

“There are people who come in here from afar,” Mary said.

Many of the familiar faces will continue to greet customers.

Diane Borer has worked at the store for 50 years, and she’ll be continuing. Longtime employee Charlene Gase plans to stay behind the deli counter, and most of the rest of the employees are staying, too.

Because the Bouillons have worked in the store since childhood, they’ve been answering lots of questions from the Mathiases and are leading them through the learning process.

“It’s all in their heads,” Mary said. “They’ve all grown up here. They’ve done it forever.”

Learning how to order products has been one of the biggest challenges, she said.

“I have to learn how much and where he gets stuff from,” she said. “They made me a lot of lists.”

Mary said she’s been taking crash courses from the family members and other employees.

“I’ve been learning to make bratwurst and cubed steaks and that kind of stuff,” she said.

“We still have the famous ham salad. I’m learning how to make it,” she said. “I did obtain with the purchase the ham salad, macaroni salad, potato salad and other salad recipes.”

Lori’s salads sold in the deli have been popular sellers.

“You would not believe how much ham salad we sell,” Mary said. “It’s awesome.”

Mary wants to assure customers nothing much is going to change.

The sign outside still says “Paul’s Market” until a new sign arrives, but the new advertisements and information say “Perry Street Market.”

The daughters have taken over the creation of ads and marketing.

After they settle in, Mary said she might make a few changes.

“We’re going to get through Christmas, and then we’ll see,” she said. “No big changes, I don’t think.

“We added peppered turkey to the deli because I like it,” she said. “We do hot lunch sandwiches. We might add to that. We’re not sure yet. We might add coffee to go.”

And in the future, the younger family members might add home-baked items to the store’s wares.

The market will continue offering its meat products, including freshly-ground beef, as well its meat and cheese trays. Deli meats and cheeses will continue as well as Amish pies and other baked items.

“It’s working,” she said. “I’m not changing it.”

Store hours are 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.