Don’s Midway Grocery, a popular grocery stop for students, reopened on Monday. The grocery closed in August, but is back now with new ownership.
Dave Molner, who owns the grocery with his wife, Karen, said they are doing a soft opening right now, selling what they have until they get their liquor license.
“We’re selling everything but beer, wine and cigarettes right now,” Dave said.
Karen said she first noticed the grocery when she came to visit her son, Cody Molner, for Mom’s Weekend last April. Karen said the line for the grocery went out the door.
“I thought, this was a goldmine here,” Karen said.
Cody lives in an apartment underneath the grocery, and when the Molner’s came to drop him off for school in August, they saw that the store was closed.
The Molner’s owned a store in Longview, where they sold mattresses and bedding since 1990. When the housing market started struggling, it affected the furniture and bedding market as well, Dave said.
“When we realized we couldn’t bleed money anymore to keep our mattress business alive, we decided to come here,” he said.
The Molner’s put their house in Longview on the market in October, and it sold right away. They bought the grocery on Dec. 1 and one month ago, they moved to Pullman and started renting a house five minutes away from their new store.
“It’s all come together like it was meant to be,” Dave said.
Dozens of students have come by the store already, asking when they were going to open, he said.
“It doesn’t feel like the economy is depressed at all here,” he said.
As an added incentive for customers, the grocery is giving away free coffee every morning, along with having special prices on some of their drinks, Dave said.
The Molner’s said they are going run the grocery on their own, with help from Cody.
“We’re going to try to keep it more a small, family-run, mom and pop kind of place,” Dave said.
Dave said the old owner of the grocery closed it because he wasn’t making a profit, but Dave feels that keeping the business small will prevent this.
The Molner’s said they plan on staying in Pullman for the unforeseeable future.
“This is our new career,” Dave said.
Cody said he likes having his parents close by, and is glad that the grocery is open again.
“This little store was one of the main reasons I wanted to move in here,” Cody said.
Anna Swan, a sophomore digital technology and culture major, stopped by the store Monday to buy a mid-afternoon snack with a friend. Swan said she lives across the street from the grocery and has been waiting for it to open.
“I’m pretty excited for having something closer than Bob’s,” she said.
The Molner’s said they are thrilled to be around so many nice and happy students.
“We’re absolutely tickled,” Dave said.