By Leah Sander
WINONA LAKE — It was Billy Hutchinson’s grandparents who helped get him interested in food.
He now sells products that bear their name, Dovie & Otto’s line of food, in his and wife Maria Hutchinson’s new business, Canal Street Market.
The Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce had a ribbon-cutting on Monday, Sept. 13, for the specialty grocery store, located at 903 E. Canal St., Winona Lake, in The Village at Winona. The business had a soft opening on Monday and was to fully open on Tuesday, Sept. 14.
Billy Hutchinson shared with InkFreeNews that the Dovie & Otto’s products are his favorite in the store.
“My favorite’s my Dovie & Otto’s line of food,” he said. “They’re my grandparents and … between them and my parents, they’re probably the reason for just all of this. I grew up (in) a small, small town … We canned or froze everything we could. That’s what we ate and I’ve just got a real appreciation for that.”
The store features products from small businesses in 31 states in the grocery, and the couple hopes to add more. Customers can find everything from jam to salsa to pickles. The Hutchinsons are also selling spices and tea from Spice Merchants of Winona Lake, which was the previous business in the building.
Giving customers unique products is important to the Hutchinsons, who also own The Olive Branch, located at 1003 E. Canal St., Winona Lake. Billy Hutchinson said the new business gives the couple more expanded opportunities to do so.
“We’re also introducing people to more small businesses and we’re supporting small businesses, so they’re supporting small businesses while they’re supporting our small business, so none of these companies are selling to Amazon, so they’re … unique to their region,” added Maria Hutchinson.
“All these products (Billy) found just doing research and calling the owners and just saying ‘Hey, I’d like to sell your stuff,'” she said. “It’s really important to him to establish a relationship with the merchants.”
Billy Hutchinson said the couple even made a trip down to New Orleans, La., to check out a product they now sell in the store.
“We’re just going to keep searching out unique items from all over the country,” he said of future plans. The couple also will seek input from customers regarding purchasing new products.
Maria Hutchinson said they want to have tasting events in the room in the back of the store and have joint events involving The Olive Branch.
“The two stores will definitely work together,” said Billy Hutchinson. “I mean with the holidays we’ll do baskets (you) can buy at both stores.”
Customers may stop by 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday in the summer season (Memorial Day to Labor Day) and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday the rest of the year.