Mary Magdalena lives in the community of Hygiene Colorado and frequented Clark’s Food Store, where she bought fresh chickens. During this time she became friends with Sam and Cindy Clark the store owners. The store was built in 1944 by Sam’s father, Malcolm Clark. It basically had not changed much over the span of many years. The creaky old wood floors where Mary’s favorite part.
Mary heard that Sam had tried to sell the building. The more he thought about it and the restrictions that would be placed on him with the rest of the land he owned, helped him decide that he really didn’t want to sell the building. When Mary approached him about leasing the building and keeping it as a grocery store was the answer to a dream for Sam. Mary was not a grocer. Yet she was interested in having the store remain the heart of the community for Hygiene. It would be too great a loss to this charming little town to lose this store.
Mary’s background has been in creating community and transforming places. She could not wait to get her hands on the space…first taking down the florescent lighting and plastic wood paneling! She bought in old antique cabinets, old farm lights…changing it to a period older that 1944. Since there was a grocery store at this location prior to that date but it had burnt down.
“I wanted people to feel like they had gone home to grandma’s for hearty food, a relaxing time and a place to have a real conversation.” Mary always loved to bake for people…so she thought she would serve them chocolate chip cookies as a starter. As the cyclists would ride by, she would go out on the street and offer them free fresh baked cookies that were just pulled out of the oven. And to top it off, they where gluten free.
Mary had been diagnosed with gluten intolerance, Celiac Disease, about a dozen of years earlier. Since that time she had changed all of her favorite recipes to gluten free. “That was a process to get them to be healthy and tasty. Her 3 kids did not like her messing with their favorite cookies…so she worked on coming up with the right blends of flours to accomplish the task. Mary would send them boxes of cookies and they were thrilled that she had made them the old fashion way just for them. Her kids (adults) did not know that these where now gluten free. Mary had passed the test!!
Perfecting a pie crust was a big challenge. Mary was always know for her great pies, but to get a good crust that was easy to work with, was worth the effort. Mary and her staff started off with fruit pies and went to work on chicken pot pies and now beef and buffalo pot pies. Mary likes to entertain in homey fashion and created a cozy seating area in the store so that our community could come and et to know one another…sit, relax, read a book. All with wonder food to eat here as well as take home.
Being Celiac she wanted to share what she had learned with others that find it challenging to find good tasting food to eat. Mary tells people who have just found out they are gluten intolerant…”GREAT…there is a cure for your disease…never eat gluten again…and I have healthy tasty products to sustain you!” It is Mary’s desire and intention to get her delicious products, recipes, knowledge out to as many people as possible so that they can benefit from what she has creatively pursued in leaning over the last 12 years