One of the best things about Katama, and there are many, is the Katama General Store. For 11 Summers, owners Jackie and Doug Korell, have been delighting Summer and year-round residents.
This dynamic duo also own Lobster Tales Catering. What would make them want to buy a general store? Well, if you’ve ever met Jackie, you know. She is full of ideas and full of energy, and saw the potential in the store.
It had been a laundromat, a general store before, but it became something totally different. Jackie wanted a new challenge, and the Katama General Store was it.
There was an opportunity with this store. The road to South Beach is well travelled during the Summer months, and where was one to get the necessary provisions for the beach?
Downtown which was packed? Stop & Shop? There really wasn’t a place, and it’s a lot more fun to stop and grab your bevies, sandwiches and chips, right?
Katama General Store became THE store. It became a destination. Jackie and Doug have learned through the years what their customers want, and what keeps them coming year after year.
Long before it was trendy to shop local or work with small businesses, that was Jackie’s thing. I mean just check out this lunch, a homemade meatloaf sandwich with roasted garlic aioli, arugula, and provolone.
Throw in some rockin chips, and of course, grab a pint of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, my friend Angie swears the salty caramel is to die for. You might just achieve temporary bliss.
The fridges have almost always been stocked with unique options from beverages to snacks to prepared foods. Note: the Fresh Ginger Ale, by Bruce Cost is awesome for Dark & Stormies.
With their catering background, the sandwiches are beyond delicious, along with all the prepared salads. Let me tell you about some of the not-to-miss items, the quinoa salad and the sweet potato salad are amazing. You have to remember that Jackie is a real foodie and she knows what tastes good.
There are interesting provisions that line the shelves. You’ll see smaller, less known brands of chips and crackers, and such. These brands are more ingredient and taste conscious and not so massed produced.
You’ll find local items too from Island businesses like Chilmark Coffee and Not Your Sugar Mamas and more. It’s worth taking a couple minutes to peruse around, believe me.
Let’s talk breakfast! Penny’s breakfast sandwiches are one of the hottest tickets in town. To think, years ago, Penny had to bring in her on flat top grill to convince Jackie to have hot sandwiches. It’s funny to think about now. Don’t forget the fresh baked goods, yummy scones, those pies, and cookies and more!
Sowing in the Seeds of Love
After all the years of operating Katama General Store, something wonderful happened last Fall, 2012. Jackie and Doug were able to buy the building and the land behind it. What does this mean? Well, it’s a whole new ballgame at the store
For starters, they have partnered with Lynn Irons, who writes the garden column for the Gazette, and is a truly passionate gardener, to turn what was once a sort of junk yard (ask Jackie about the details and you’ll be amazed what was there), into a huge vegetable garden with a small flower garden.
If you can, stop by and check it out. It’s laid out in a patchwork pattern, and it really is quite lovely. You can tell that a lot of work has been invested in creating this garden.
This means that fresh produce will be available to customers. When stopping by to load up for the beach, you’ll also be able to load up on veggies for dinner.
Think about it, Katama tomatoes, peppers, squash, cabbage, beets, beans, peas, carrots, herbs and more. Though it will take a year or two to really get established, what a seriously great addition to an already amazing store.
Don’t forget that there will also be fresh flower bouquets available too. It doesn’t get much more local than the backyard does it? For Jackie and Doug, this garden is more than just a garden. It is something for the community, it is something they can now do because the land is theirs. They’re working hard, taking the Katama General Store to the next level.
So Much More Than a Store
When you talk to Jackie about what she loves about this store, it’s the people. She even gets a little emotional when she talks about this. She has watched children grow up. Once being toted along by their parents, these kids are now riding their bikes to get a little treat or are in college but still stop by their favorite Summer store.
Also, she loves what happens on the front patio. People gather there for coffee and to take in the Summer scene, and frequently end up making new friends.
Year after year, she watches strangers soon laughing together, exchanging phone numbers, and ending up becoming best friends. That’s what happens here. Friendships are made, between customers, between employees, between customers and employees. It’s what the Summer on Martha’s Vineyard is all about, with the addition of great food and merchandise.
Speaking of merchandise, of course Jackie has a lot of great, fun items in the store. There are new t-shirts this year, and for the toddlers, they are particularly awesome, be sure to check out the back, it will make you laugh. I can’t let you in on everything now can I? Also, there are great games for kids and fun beach toys.
New tote bags, and coffee mugs, and cook books and cool hostess gifts, and more. It’s a little shopping oasis filled with clever and cool items not necessarily available everywhere else.
Each town on this beautiful Island has businesses where owners give their heart and soul to their work. They wake up each day knowing that it’s going to be a good day because they’re doing what they love, and their rewards is the smiles they see.
The Katama General Store is one of those places, and I know it’s one of the places I really enjoy visiting. It really is more than just a general store. It’s part of the community.
Thanks for reading On Point. You can find out more about the Katama General Store on Facebook. And speaking of social media, don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook, on follow us on Twitter, Linked In, Pinterest and YouTube.
I should also mention that the Katama General Store will soon be offering prepared lunches for the new Behind the Bookstore coffee bar. So even if you’re downtown, you can enjoy some of Jackie and Doug’s yummy food. What’s Behind the Bookstore, btb? Check out the On Point Blog, Behind the Scenes of Martha’s Vineyard’s Newest Coffee Bar, Behind the Bookstore