I like to tell folks about the benefits of shopping local, so given that I do that I shop local too. One of my favorite new places to shop in St. Clair County is “Mama K’s Market” out by Kottwitz feed and supply in Osceola, MO. Last time I was in, I took the time to interview Connie Kottwitz about her and Jim’s business. Being in economic development, I am always interested in what makes our local businesses tick, and why they opened in the first place.
Connie says she opened the little grocery because she didn’t want to travel for work and she wanted to spend more time with her husband and grandkids. What she hadn’t realized, was that owning a small store meant she would be there most of the time. Still, the grandkids get to hang out at her work and that’s definitely a plus. She touched on one of the things I like most about our county- and that is the industriousness of our friends and neighbors. Being a rural area means that there is less jobs available, so many folks start their own business. That shows determination, creativity and independence- all of which makes us so great.
But back to Mama Ks. Walking in to her store feels a lot like walking in to a comfortable home, and she says that’s exactly how she wants folks to feel when they walk in. She carries a variety of goods, including many gluten free products. She has a full line of spices (hint: try the rib rub!), dip mixes and soup starters. They also carry several varieties of frozen foods including onion petals and jalapeno poppers. The refrigerators line two walls where you can find a variety of cheeses (some of them in bulk), deli meats and seasonal veggies grown right there behind the store. Some of my favorite items include the low priced coconut oil and gluten free flour blend.
Remember I said walking in feels like home? It does- but only better because walking in to Mama K’s feels like walking in to a home where the smell of fresh baked bread wafts through the air. They bake white bread, honey bread, herb bread, oatmeal bread and even cheddar cheese bread right there at the store. If you have a sweet tooth, try the homemade cookies, brownies and pie.
Mama K’s has good prices and is a friendly mini grocery. One of the things Connie says she likes about her store is all the friendly teasing that gets thrown her way. You oughtta stop in and give her a bit of trouble and pick up something tasty for dinner while you are there. It’s a special home grown business and just one more business that makes our communities a great place to be.