CHANNAHON – It has been quite a few years since Channahon has had a good old country market.
One where the meat is bought from area producers, the fruits and vegetables come from right over the border in season, and the guy behind the deli counter is not only the owner but the butcher as well.
Mac’s Country Market will be opening soon at 25224 W. Reed St. – any day now, said Scott McMillin who, along with his wife, Chris McMillin, is working around the clock to get things up and running for the holidays.
They are aiming for the first week in December if all goes well.
If the name sounds familiar, it might be that Scott has been a trustee on the Channahon Village Board for 11 years.
Perhaps you’ll recognize him from his many years at the former Frank's Country Store, or his teen years working at the old Foodliner at Route 6 and Tryon Street.
“As a kid, I worked at Foodliner, they started me on cutting chickens,” he said. “Then, one Saturday, they started me on hanging halves of beef.”
Although he’s a heavy equipment operator for International Union Of Operating Engineers Local 150 by trade, Scott’s heart always has been in the food business.
His mother-in-law, Rose Weir, worked at Frank's Country Store for 27 years and ran the florist department for a long time.
Her expertise will come in handy at Mac’s, where she will be in charge of the floral shop.
Chris McMillin has been a patient accounts supervisor at Morris Hospital for 28 years, but she just retired to work in the market. She will manage the store and work in the floral department with Weir.
Together, they plan to make Mac’s a real family business.
“We’ve been wanting to do this for quite a while,” Scott said.
In addition to the butcher shop, deli and floral shop, Mac’s will have fresh fruit and vegetables; necessities such milk, fresh eggs and bread (Milano’s, of course); and some specialty items such as local honey.
The deli will feature Boar’s Head products as well as other brands.
The meat carried in the store will range from grass-fed to traditional and will come from as close as Yorkville. Scott has a pork supplier at the old stockyards in Chicago, where the turnaround is only three days from market to store.
“The concept is to keep it small enough to keep things fresh,” he said. “I want to do as much [from] Illinois as possible.”
Scott’s not concerned about his competition from big stores such as Jewel-Osco; in fact, he believes they both can serve the community.
“Jewel has been great for Channahon and Minooka,” he said.
Scott has all kinds of ideas for the future of Mac’s. His Yorkville meat supplier will supply him with whole sides of beef, cut up and frozen. Customized orders will be available, and customers won’t need to buy the whole cow.
He sees evenings down the road where locals can come in and learn to make their own sausage from a professional at an after-hours butcher class.
Scott knows of at least 30 guys in the city who make different sausages, some of which he will carry in his store.
Although brown butcher paper still is hanging on the glass windows of the store, a lot is going on behind the scenes, as contractors are working to get the market ready.
People have been popping by their shop, which sits between USA Liquors and Chin Chen restaurant on Reed Street, to see what’s going on and when it will be opening, Chris said.
“A lot of people from the community stop, open the door and ask about certain products,” she said. “It’s great.”
“We are excited to get this open and running,” Scott said, “and to be a part of the community.”