Owners of Peabody Market, offered for sale at an online auction last month, are denying reports – including one from the county commissioner representing the area – that the store is going out of business.
When the auction concluded Oct. 23, concerned observers who were not registered bidders were unable to see whether the business had sold.
Owners Rick and Vickie Turner were visiting relatives in Illinois and were unavailable for comment.
Store employees knew nothing and shrugged at customers’ questions.
As often happens when facts are not known, rumors ran rampant.
“I know there are stories out there,” Rick Turner said in an interview Monday. “I just don’t know where people get their information.
“We aren’t closing at the end of the year. The store did not sell, but we are not out of options. We don’t intend to just close it.”
His comments were in response to Commissioner Randy Dallke mentioning at Monday’s commission meeting that he had heard Peabody Market would be closing “the 31st of this year.”
“You’d have to hear it from him,” Dallke said, “but that’s what he told me as of last week.”
Dallke listed Turner as the source of his information.
Turner’s reasons for wanting to sell the business are varied. He cites his age, health, and desire to be free to go see his children and grandchildren whenever he and his wife choose to make the trip.
“I want to retire,” he said. “I don’t want to do this anymore.”
At a Peabody City Council meeting Monday night, Mayor Larry Larsen shared additional information with council members.
“Rick Turner told me he and his wife had not made a final decision. Nothing was cast in stone,” Larsen said. “He said they had some options and both were willing to stick around a while to help a new owner get a feel for the business.”
To help determine next steps, Larsen said he had contacted a rural development specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Katie Casper of Iola informed him about grants, programs, business models, and possible leads.
“We have not gotten into a lot of detail,” Larsen said, “but it sounds like there are some opportunities out there that we should look at.
“Right now I am hopeful that additional contact with Ms. Casper will get us somewhere.”
Larsen said he would encourage anyone who might be interested in investing in the business, which he described as profitable, to contact him or Turner.
“We would both like to see this thing come to a good ending,” he said.