With a surge in tourism spawned by the coronavirus pandemic, Garden City is about to get its first “full-service” grocery store, which will also house the community’s only bank.
Long the sole grocery store in town, the tiny Mike’s Market has combined with nearby Ace Hardware — both owned by the Moldenhauer family — for a new building at 557 N. Bear Lake Blvd.
The 40,000 square-foot, two-story structure will also include a Zions Bank branch, a Beans & Brew coffee shop, and a Chevron gas station with six bays that accommodate oversized vehicles, boats and trailers. The second floor will feature a 100-seat mezzanine overlooking the lake, and the hardware store will have a greenhouse annex for garden supplies plus a sporting goods section with gear for water skiing, boating, fishing and hunting.
“We believe this will be a huge asset to the town, offering many goods and services that weren’t previously available. We are confident that it will become the new hub for services and supplies for people coming to enjoy their time at Bear Lake,” said developer Dan Moldenhauer, CEO of Moldenhauer Inc., which owns several Ace Hardware outlets in the region and also runs the large KOA campground adjoining the Garden City store property.
The addition of the Zions Bank branch was announced Tuesday. The branch will be connected to Mike’s Market, accessible both through the grocery store and a separate entrance. It will have two ATMS — one inside and one outside — and a night depository box.
“We are excited to have a physical presence in Garden City, one of the most beautiful and beloved communities in Utah, and bring banking services to the shores of Bear Lake,” said Scott Anderson, Zions Bank president and CEO.
The entire complex is set to open May 21. Soon the building’s windows will be covered to provide customers with an opening-day surprise. The date is significant to the Moldenhauer family because it will be 20 years to the day since they purchased the Garden City Ace Hardware and KOA.
“We had no idea when we purchased this what we were getting into with the KOA since none of us had ever run a campground,” said Dan Moldenhaur’s son, Mike, who will manage the enlarged hardware. Now, the company’s seven stores range from Bear Lake to Winthrup, Washington, to Rexburg, Idaho, where the corporate offices are located.
Mike Moldenhaur told The Montpelier News-Examiner that winter season employees are expected to total 40, and summertime will see an increase to 110 employees — 90 in the grocery and 20 at Ace. Many summer employees stay at the KOA or another nearby campground owned by the Moldenhauers. There are 35 college students among those hired for the initial workforce.
With people fleeing urban areas during the coronavirus pandemic, Garden City and the greater Bear Lake community saw a sharp rise in tourists last summer. According to many locals, this was followed by a marked increase in off-season residents choosing to winter in vacation homes.
Without a bank, people wanting cash only had access to ATMs, and many grocery shoppers traveled to Logan or Montpelier.
Mike’s Market manager Pat Murdoch said the aim of the new supermarket is “to hit everybody from Randolph to Paris.”
“We don’t want to be a seasonal grocery or Ace. We want to compete with Logan to save people making that trip in the winter,” he said.