By Heather Lusk
After 27 years of owning Country Market, the Bankert family is closing the doors of the antique store and restaurant on May 13.
“It’s been a really hard decision, because it’s been a huge labor of love,” said Lori Bankert, who is married to one of the five Bankert children who run the business with their families. She said that the family will instead focus on their other business, Boone County Resource Recovery System.
According to Bankert, customers have been asking staff what they can do to help to keep the doors open, but she said as her husband and his siblings move toward retirement age it was time to focus on only one business.
“There’s been a lot of love in the place, everyone’s so torn,” Bankert said. “It’s harder to continue what you were doing 30 years ago.”
This will also end the annual October Pumpkinfest after 16 years, an event created by Bankert and her husband John. Their goal was to create a farm environment recreating a fall harvest experience.
“It’s been a big part of the tradition in Boone County,” she said.
The property has been purchased by Jacquie Bois of Jacquie’s Cafe on Michigan Road and will become a catering business and event center.
While most of the antiques will be gone by April 30, the restaurant will continue to operate for lunch until May 13 due to a delay in closing. On May 21 Pumpkinfest and farm equipment will be auctioned at the property, 795 U.S. 421, selling tents, tractors, a hill side slide, props and more.
Leading up to the last business day, the restaurant has experienced standing room only crowds on occasion.
“It’s just packed,” Bankert said. “That’s been neat because you realize how we’ve been appreciated by the community.”