As the woman walked away after buying a tomato, Mike Martin noted, “I’ve never seen her before.”
It was only the second day that Martin had operated a produce stand in front of Hot Shots, his bar at 1248 Standard Ave., Masury, and the stand was accomplishing one of Martin’s goals: serving people beyond the Hot Shots regulars. That woman was not alone as 10 or 15 other people whose faces didn’t ring a bell with Martin had rung up sales on the cash register.
“Not everybody’s gotta drink, but they gotta eat,” Martin said.
Although Hot Shots serves alcohol, Martin would like the place to become more a part of the community. He serves a variety of meal items, including tacos, stuffed peppers and his Saturday specialty: wood-fired pizzas. The produce stand should help toward that aim, he said.
Besides being a bar, the building still carries the stigma of having been a nudie bar in a past life. Martin hopes to restore the reputation the establishment had when it was a Veterans of Foreign Wars post, a place where families were welcome.
“The bar has a bad rep,” he said. “I’m trying to get the neighborhood back in.”
At the produce stand, which is primarily made out of wooden pallets, Martin is selling ears of corn, watermelons, strawberries, potatoes, onions and other items. He has a supplier providing the produce, which obviously is not locally sourced.
“By the end of July, I want to be all local,” he said.
Not only that, he would like the idea to grow to where other vendors are selling their wares beside him. He envisions someone barbecuing, kids selling lemonade, and a flea-market-type atmosphere evolving – his parking lot becoming a “palette city.”
Special events, such as a corn cook-off, could add to the attraction.
The stand is initially planned to be open Monday through Saturday, the hours fluctuating depending on the sun so the produce doesn’t get pounded by rays.
For more information, check out the Hot Shots Facebook page or call 330-619-5523.