By Kathy Johnson
It’s been nearly 10 years since the day in 2003 when Norm Jenkins and Michael Clarke purchased the old Page’s Store in downtown Batesville from the Page family. Since that time the store has been leased and operated by others, but in January the owners decided it was time to step in and begin operating the store.
“That was always the plan,” says Jenkins, “we just weren’t ready then.” But clearly they are ready now with Jenkins behind the counter doing most of the cooking and Clarke there on his days off (he also works full time at another job) to help out at the counter. The store has returned to country store cooking, with items like tuna and chicken salad and the Plank Road Reuben on the menu.
Sweets are provided by some “local ladies” and Jenkins said they are boosting up the store’s grocery stock and intend to carry local vendor products (produce and other items) from the “greater Batesville area.”
In addition to the Exchange, Jenkins and Clarke have another business, Fair Co., with third partner Alex Frayer. Through Fair Co., Frayer will represent local products in Charlottesville and Washington, D.C. They already have a line of local coffees and other products they sell at the Exchange and Jenkins said they will represent those products in other areas.
They will continue carrying local artisan crafts, like Barbara Albert’s pottery, which has been in the shop for some years. Local photography or painting will also be showcased on the walls. Albert’s paintings are presently up and will stay up through the end of February. Starting March 1, local photographer John Wright will have his photos on display and for sale at the store. Local (greater Batesville) artists are encouraged to drop by the store with a sample of their work. “We want to carry as much local art as possible,” said Jenkins.
The store will continue hosting live entertainment every Saturday night, with occasional Sunday afternoon entertainment, and what they call Final Fridays (the last Friday each month). “Two Sundays ago we had the Miller School band here. That was great. They set up here and some of the parents came and others—we had a great time,” Jenkins said.
Located next to the Post Office in Batesville, the store is open seven days a week, Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from noon until 5 p.m. For more information, call 434-823-2001.