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  • Last modified 40 days ago (Dec. 19, 2019)

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Couple puts finishing touches on Main Street Cafe and Bakery

Staff writer

It’s taking them longer than they expected to get the new Main Street Café and Bakery in Durham ready for business, but Mark and Kris Wiebe are nearing the finish line.

They’ve been inundated with questions from eager fans of the eatery, who wonder when it will reopen.

“I’ve told people that this is the only business I’ve ever done where I’ve had so many people excited about what I’m doing,” Mark said.

They haven’t set an opening date but said it isn’t too far away.

“It’s more work than we ever imagined,” Mark said. “There are a lot of odds and ends to finish.”

The Wiebes purchased the café from Wendell and Linda Wedel after it was inundated with 32 inches of water in a July 4 flood and was gutted.

They’ve been able to reclaim some of the equipment, such as a large commercial oven and an

icemaker, but other machines had to be replaced.

Volunteers joined them for several work evenings to get the project going.

The couple have years of experience selling food, and both will bring their own expertise to the business.

They traveled to four farmers’ markets — Salina, Manhattan, Junction City, and Abilene —every week for 17 years. Kris sold baked goods and Mark sold smoked meat.

Their experience with serving customers will carry over to their new venture.

“Maybe it’s time the customers came to us, not us going to them,” Kris said.

“We enjoy learning to know people, and we are looking forward to providing a service that was lost,” Mark said.

The café will have a basic small town café menu, and the Wiebes will continue offering Friday night buffets, but without the verenika. The buffet will feature a variety of Mark’s smoked meats. The cafe will still offer a variety of pies as well as baked goods to go.

One or two of Wedel’s former employees will be returning, and others have expressed interest in working for the Wiebes.

The couple knew two years ago that Wedel was thinking of retiring and selling the business, but they were busy and didn’t take the time to consider it. The idea hit them both two weeks after the flood, and both started thinking the same way.

“It’s not something I’ve dreamed of doing because I knew it was a lot of work, but we kept hearing that the community really needed it,” Kris said of their decision to restart the café. “Evidently, the Lord is in it.”

Mark is an electrician and is keeping his business, Landmark Electric, going while working on the café.

“It brings in cash flow,” he said.

Last modified Dec. 19, 2019

 

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