COLESBURG, Iowa — Despite what its name might suggest, a new business in Colesburg feels more like a necessity than a convenience.
Hill Country Convenience Store opened its doors this week at 317 Main St.
The 2,500-square-foot store fills a noteworthy void in the city of roughly 400 people, which has lacked a grocery option for multiple years.
Co-owner Tom Forkenbrock said he not only feels good about the prospects for his store, but also for the community as a whole.
“People in small towns sometimes wonder if the town can survive,” Forkenbrock said. “I personally think small towns are going to grow. We didn’t build this store just so the town can survive. We built it so we can prosper. “
Hill Country Convenience Store sells a wide variety of items, including milk, eggs, cheese, canned goods, produce and frozen meats. The business also offers pizza and sandwiches to go.
Colesburg Mayor Rex Meyer said grocery items have been hard to come by for the community’s residents in recent years.
He noted that the city’s previous grocery business, The Store, shuttered a few years ago.
“We’ve had no access to basic grocery items ever since,” Meyer said. “You basically had to drive 15 to 20 minutes to get milk or bread. I think this (new store) will have a huge impact on our community.”
For many of the city’s older residents, driving to stores in communities like Guttenberg and Edgewood is not a viable option.
Meyer said the new convenience store will offer a new option for senior citizens and make the city more appealing to new residents. This could help fill some of the underutilized rental properties in town.
“The landlords are certainly happy about it,” Meyer said.
Forkenbrock co-owns Hill Country Convenience Store with his wife, Becky Every Forkenbrock, and her son, Mitch Every.
The new offering has been about two years in the making.
Forkenbrock said he and his wife purchased the building from the City of Colesburg in 2016. At that time, the building largely was vacant, save for one small city office.
Forkenbrock said this city office has been moved to a different part of the property and the entire structure has undergone significant renovations.
“We had to completely gut the building,” he said. “We bought new coolers, put in new shelving and flooring and installed new electrical. Just about everything is new.”
Crews also connected the convenience store to the neighboring property, which houses Every’s Auto & Tire. The business, which is owned by Becky Every Forkenbrock, serves as a gas station and auto repair shop.
Hill Country Convenience Store employs six workers. It is open from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the weekends.
Throughout the week, customers have flocked to Hill Country Convenience Store to scope out the new offering.
“The response has been great,” Forkenbrock said. “They been without a store for so long and they’re happy to have somewhere to go locally.”