JAMESTOWN — He survived an Atlantic hurricane and an impromptu meeting with a large gator on a golf course.
So it should come as no surprise that Kevin Readshaw is confident he can turn around the Jamestown Market.
“It’s going to be work,” the native of Ashtabula County said. “(But) I do believe there’s a lot of potential here.”
Readshaw and his wife, Kandee, officially purchased the grocery store Dec. 16 after a year-long process. They spent the last 15 years on Bald Head Island near Wilmington, N.C. where he ran the Maritime Market.
He loved living on the tiny plot of land accessible only by ferry boat, despite having to evacuate for a nasty hurricane and escaping 8-foot long alligators while chasing birdies on the golf course.
“It was really a beautiful place to be,” Kevin Readshaw said.
But he had wanted to own a store for many years and coming from tiny Andover — less than three miles from the Ohio/Pennsylvania border — he knew a smaller community was where he wanted to be. It took more than a decade, but he eventually found what he thinks is the perfect place.
“I looked at a lot of them,” Kevin Readshaw said. ” I have spent a lot of years looking for a place to buy. We just really thought it would be a good fit.”
One of his first official acts was to drop “Uhl’s” from the name and focus on the location.
“It’s about Jamestown,” he said. “It’s about the people here.”
The Readshaws moved to Jamestown on Thanksgiving and can be found inside the store almost all day, every day. Kandee Readshaw handles a lot of behind-the-scenes tasks. When Kevin Readshaw is not chatting with customers so he can get to know them, he will stock produce one minute, clean and organize shelves the next, and mop up a dirty floor after that.
“He’s willing to get on the floor and do what they do,” Kandee Readshaw said, adding that it makes the employees want to work harder. “When we get here the next day they’re excited for us to see what they did.”
In the coming days and months, shoppers will continue to see a cleaner, more organized store, with a dedicated area for special sale items, and shelves that contain plenty of product.
”We have to get back to the basics,” Kevin Readshaw said. “I think when we get done they’ll be happy with what’s here.”
So far, the team is on board and willing to learn and change.
“Love our crew,” Kevin Readshaw said. “A lot of them have been here a long time.”
The Readshaws hope they are too.
“I didn’t give up a really great job, living on an island to come here and not succeed,” Kevin Readshaw said.
Ownership was his dream, Kandee Readshaw said of her husband, who began working in the grocery industry 45 years ago at the age of 16.
“I knew he wasn’t going to give it up,” she said.
The Readshaws also hope to become a big supporter of all things Jamestown.
“The community feel is awesome,” Kandee Readshaw said.
Jamestown is also close to the Readshaw’s daughter, Kimberlee, who lives in suburban Columbus. The Readshaws also have a son, Kristopher, who still lives in North Carolina.
Jamestown Market is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.