September 24, 2011

Soup to Nuts: For Maine grocer,
a bright future is in store

That's the early buzz on a 'kinda cool' new country market in Waterboro, where customers stumble across never-heard-of items that become pantry must-haves.

By Meredith Goad mgoad@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

This story was updated at 12:42 p.m. 9/24 to clrify that Balmer and Bruckhart are rthe store's owners and Sollenberger the manager of th store.

20110915_Soup2Nuts
click image to enlarge

Cornerstone Country Market owners Jeff Balmer, left, Randy Bruckhart and Jon Sollenberger.

Photos by Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

20110915_Soup2Nuts
click image to enlarge

Cornerstone Country Market manager Jon Sollenberger restocks shelves with the help of Robert Duncan, who pitches in at the store through Massabesic High School’s Work Experience Program.

Additional Photos Below

CORNERSTONE COUNTRY MARKET

WHERE: 1045 Main St., Waterboro; 247-7668

HOURS: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday

OUT OF THE ORDINARY

HERE ARE a few of the more unusual or harder-to-find products carried by Cornerstone Country Market:

• Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar

• Gummy chicken feet

• Cous cous with chives and saffron

• Mini animal crackers

• Cheddar whales

• Cinnamon pecan sticky bun oatmeal (not instant)

• Pappy's Sassafras Tea

• Donut mix

• EZ Squeeze pie fillings in black raspberry, red raspberry, apple, lemon, cherry and blueberry

• Spelt flour

• Brown rice flour

• Haitian rice and beans

• Dark chocolate malt balls

• Rainbow coconut slices

• Blueberry yogurt pretzels (also strawberry and raspberry)

• Gustaf's Licorice Allsorts

• Iced animal cookies

• Green bean chips

• King syrup

• Coconut oil

• Mrs. Wages products

AMISH- AND MENNONITE-STYLE PRODUCTS

• Schlabach Amish Bakery granolas

• Unique Sprouted 100% Whole Grain Split Pretzels

• Mrs. Miller's (spelt pasta, jams, jellies, noodles and peanut butter spread)

• Jake and Amos (sauerkraut, red beet eggs, pickled dilled brussel sprouts)

• Martin's potato breads

• Kauffman's (peach, pumpkin and apple butters)

• Dutch Country soft pretzel mix

• Auntie Anne's at-home pretzel baking kit

• Pennsylvania Dutch shoofly pie mix

• Other products from companies such as Dutch Country, Dutch Valley, Golden Barrel, Pennsylvania Dutch and Yoder's

• There are Amish cookbooks for sale, and the entire deli department comes from John F. Martin out of Lancaster County, Penn.

WATERBORO — At first glance, the Cornerstone Country Market doesn't seem like the kind of place you'd go out of your way to visit.

The interior is a bland cream color. The lighting is fluorescent, the shelving standard.

Look more closely at what's stocked on those shelves, though, and the place starts absorbing your interest.

The baking aisle is filled with a wide variety of flours, some of which would be hard to find even in Portland. Sure, you can get gummy bears in the candy aisle, but you'll also find gummy fried eggs and candy Legos. And there are lots of products from Pennsylvania Dutch country, such as jams, shoofly pie mix, birch beer and things you didn't know you needed, like sweet tiny beets in a jar.

I heard about the Cornerstone Country Market from Michael and Sandy Jubinsky, owners of the Stone Turtle Baking and Cooking School in Lyman. Michael kept urging me to check out the store, which opened four months ago, saying it was "kinda cool." Jubinsky found out about it from his daughter, a cook. That's the way the store appears to be expanding its customer base – word of mouth.

And it's understandable why, once you look around the place.

Jubinsky is enamored of the flour selection because he's found flours there that he would normally have to order in 50-pound bags or pay through the nose for at a high-end grocery store. He's also found instant clear jel, a thickener he uses that doesn't need heating and doesn't gum up your pies like corn starch or make them cloudy like flour.

Like other customers, the Jubinskys have also stumbled across products that they had never heard of before but now can't live without.

"Their extra-dark pretzels are like God's gift to pretzels," Jubinsky said.

You can get bulk organic rolled oats, organic whole wheat flour, goji-blueberry-golden flax oatmeal and other healthy foods at this little market and you can buy coconut oil or a bag of the little colored marshmallows like the ones that go into Lucky Charms.

Alongside the usual junk food items in the snack aisle, there are green bean chips, and the corn chips come with flecks of flax in them – maybe so you feel a little less guilty about eating them?

BUILDING A CONGREGATION

Where did this place come from, and why is it in rural Maine?

The store was started by three families who moved here from Pennsylvania to start a church. Jeff Balmer, one of the owners, explained that they are members of the Church of the Brethren, and are currently meeting in the historic Oakwoods Meeting House in North Berwick until they can get their new congregation off the ground.

There are three other Church of the Brethren communities in Maine, Balmer said. One is in Brunswick; the other two are in Lewiston and Gardiner. Balmer said the church in Pennsylvania sent out letters asking who would be willing to move to Maine to start a new church, and his family and five other families felt called to do so.

Members of the Church of the Brethren live simply and follow the teachings of the New Testament. But despite all of the Amish merchandise in the store, they are not Amish. The church was founded in 1708 and, like the Amish and Mennonites, are descended from the Anabaptists, Protestant Christians of the 16th century who rejected the idea of infant baptism and other traditional practices of the church.

(Continued on page 2)

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors


Additional Photos

20110915_Soup2Nuts
click image to enlarge

The store buys much of its candy and nuts in bulk and repackages them in smaller containers, passing savings along to customers.

20110915_Soup2Nuts
click image to enlarge

Pride of Szeged rubs.

20110915_Soup2Nuts
click image to enlarge

Amish- and Mennonite-style products include Jake & Amos preserves.

20110915_Soup2Nuts
click image to enlarge

A wide array of baking ingredients.

  


Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)




 

Blogs

More PPH Blogs