By Chad Ingram
Marc and Cyndi Wilkens are excited about their purchase of Minden Mercantile & Feed Co. Inc. and getting to know the community.
The deal on the business at the intersection of Bobcaygeon and Deep Bay Roads closed in early November.
“We’ve been coming here as customers for years, and we’d been looking for a business to buy,” Marc says.
The couple live south of Kinmount where they have a hobby farm, moving from the Newmarket area about eight years ago, and have two children – daughter Cienna and son Liam.
“What we love about the name Minden Mercantile, you look up the mercantile from days past, that’s where the locals always went for all the things they needed, whether you needed sewing needles or feed for your cows,” Marc says.
“It has such a history, just the word,” says Cyndi.
They’ve been busy getting to know their customers, and have plans to expand the building, as well as product inventory.
“Over the past few weeks, I’ve been spending a lot of time talking to customers, understanding what they do, what makes them tick, why they are buying from here,” Marc says. “Such a diverse group of people. They have such interesting stories.”
One customer, for example, buys birdseed that she uses to make art.
“Everybody has a story,” says Cyndi. Her own unique story includes a battle with necrotizing fasciitis, or flesh-eating disease, which led to the loss of her limbs nearly a decade ago. Cyndi has authored a book about her journey and is a motivational speaker, and the couple help families in crisis through their ministry, Shine On Missions. The Wilkens also have backgrounds in business, Cyndi in product management and Marc in sales, and farming also runs in the family, with Marc’s father a farmer and veterinarian.
They plan to add more products that complement homesteading, gardening and beekeeping.
“There’s such an avid birdwatching community here,” Marc says. “We want to expand what we offer there. We love animals, we love the outdoors, we love farming.”
The couple is also excited to get to know residents of Minden, and comment on the village’s beauty.
“We want to help drive traffic in downtown Minden,” Marc says. “This is such a unique downtown community. I remember the first time coming here, driving and seeing the river right beside the road going right through the downtown, and I’m like, what a beautiful, majestic little town.”
The Wilkens purchased Minden Mercantile from Kelly Pearce, who ran it for close to decade.
“I want to express my thanks to all my lovely customers,” Pearce told the Times. “We have the best customers in the county, and I’m going to miss them too. I hope they’ll continue to support Marc and his family.”
The Wilkens will be running the business along with employees Madie Payne, Sheri Hullah and Leanne Hunt.