Heath’s Market: Small Business With a Big History Celebrating Anniversary on Saturday

| February 27, 2019

OIL CITY, Pa. (EYT) – The new owners of Heath’s Market in Oil City will be celebrating their one year anniversary on Saturday, March 2.

Although the most recent proprietorship of Heath’s Market located at 220 Bishop Avenue has only been in business for a year, the market has a much longer history in Oil City.

It was originally opened by Sonny Heath in the 1960s. Then, during the early 1970s, it was purchased by Jim Aikins in partnership with Jack Williams.

Aikens and his wife ran the store for around forty years until he decided to close the doors and retire about five years ago. Nevertheless, while Aikins was ready to say goodbye to the business, the local community was not.

According to Rebecca Colvin, one of the current owners, the closure of the market upset many people in the area.

“It had been there since the 60s, and people didn’t want to see it close,” Colvin told exploreVenango.com.

Following the store’s closure, Colvin and her sister, Heidi Wise, began to discuss the idea of purchasing the store and running it themselves.

“My father was a butcher there, and we grew up in that store,” Colvin said. “My sister and I talked, and this past year we just thought – if we’re going to do it, then we should do it – and we dove in head first.”

Colvin and Wise purchased the market and reopened it on March 4, 2018.

Colvin has spent most of her life in Oil City, only leaving the area for a few years, and Wise had lived in Erie for a number of years.

“The community has been amazing, and this first year has gone really well. We have learned a lot, but we still have a lot to learn, of course, but we’re very happy with where we’re at for being there for a year.”

While the upcoming anniversary will be a special moment for the sisters, it also has a bittersweet aspect, as Aikins, who was so pivotal to the store, passed away on Thursday, February 21, 2019.

“We’re happy that Jim was able to see what we’ve done in a year, and we’re happy we had him by our side to get through the first year because we wouldn’t have been able to do it without him,” explained Colvin.

“Starting a little business is not easy, that’s one thing we’ve learned, but the community here is amazing, and we hear all of the stories about the store and the history of the store from people. It’s been so amazing.”

While the market focuses on and is best known for fresh cut meats of all kinds, they also offer a number of other products, including fresh produce.

“I live in this neighborhood, and I know a lot of people in the neighborhood don’t drive or don’t want to have to get in the car and go to the store if they just need one more onion for making dinner,” Colvin noted.

They also carry a number of other products, including Marburger Farm Dairy milk and cheeses, as well as Hillandale Farms Cheese, and even their meat selection has been expanding.

“We started off small. We get fresh meat orders twice a week, and with every order, we add something new, so we’re slowly growing. We’ve gotten pretty far in a year, but we’ve still got a lot more growing to do.”

Heath’s Market also offers daily hot lunches, which they post to their popular Facebook page each day. According to Colvin, the hot lunches range through a myriad of options, from soup and sandwiches to hot turkey dinners and items like the barbeque chicken sandwich, pictured below.

“When I get up each morning, I just say ‘what sounds good today?'”

With their one year anniversary approaching, technically on March 4, the sisters decided to set a day for a special anniversary celebration and settled on Saturday, March 2.

“Since March 2 is a Saturday, we thought that would be a better day to have it, plus it is also our dad’s birthday,” Colvin said.

Their father, Roger Mott, worked as a butcher at the market for a number of years and will be in attendance on Saturday to celebrate with his daughters and the many customers he served over the years.

“He will be there, drinking coffee with everyone, and we’ll also be having cake and a lot of other fun stuff,” Colvin noted.

The celebration will include live music by Sean Kerry and Kevin Lumis from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., as well as hourly giveaways and free samples.

“We were able to buy a brand new smoker after the holidays this year, so we’ll be smoking all day long, and we’ll have lots of samples for people to try.”

There will also be a special grand prize drawing; the winner will receive $200.00 worth of fresh cut meat. Those who wish to enter can do so at the store location.

The grand prize will be drawn at 4:00 p.m. at the store and the person selected must be present at the store during the drawing to win.


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Category: Business News, Community, Local News, News