The original sign reading ‘Olde Tyme Butcher Shoppe’ still stands in front of the nearly 100-year-old Casper grocery store.
While the store’s new owners plan to repaint the sign, the original 1918 Grant Street Grocery building will remain. A partnership of five people who live in the Grant Street neighborhood have purchased the property and are revitalizing it, with a goal of reopening the grocery store in December.
“You’ll see major and minor changes, but we want Grant Street to have the same core value, which is providing a high-quality product to this community,” said Lindsey Grant, one of the partners on the project.
Grant and two couples, Terry and Del Johnson and Doug and Susan Holmes, began meeting in January after the grocery store shut down. Over glasses of wine in the Johnsons’ living room, the group came up with ideas to revamp the business.
The partners wanted to continue to provide the high-quality meats, seafood and cheeses, as well as fresh sandwiches, the store has offered. But they also wanted to expand the business by building a commercial kitchen and hiring a chef to prepare fresh lunches and dinners for customers to carry out.
The group decided to demolish the grocery store’s attached garage to create space for the kitchen. That meant removing additions but keeping the core structure.
“What we have left of the building is original,” Grant said.
The partners hired Brandon Daigle with River Valley Builders as the contractor for the remodel. As a Grant Street resident himself, the group knew Daigle would be invested in the project.
Daigle, his wife and two daughters live three doors from the grocery store, he said. His wife and daughters would go to the store weekly to pick up fresh eggs. The couple would buy meat and cheeses for parties.
“I feel like it would have been an eyesore had it not been taken over by a group with a vision to re-create what it used to be,” Daigle said.
The contractor and his team are removing and replacing all of the building’s systems, including the electrical, plumbing, HVAC and mechanical systems. New flooring – luxury vinyl tile – will be laid. Daigle will also put in custom shelving and display cases.
The work is being privately funded, Grant said.
The partnership will let customers sign up to receive weekly newsletters with the store’s scheduled menus. The group will also use social media to share the daily meals, which could range from enchiladas to roast chicken.
The store will also continue to offer house-made party provisions, such as salsa and hummus, Grant said. The group also hopes to do cheese tastings with educational classes.
Demolition started two weeks ago. Since then, neighbors have stopped by daily to ask Grant what will become of the store.
“We’ve heard more often than not, ‘We’re happy it’s not going to be an empty building. We’re happy that something’s happening,’” Grant said.
She said the group wants to restore Grant Street Grocery so it can serve the community for another 100 years.