A grocery store on the Island

“What day is it?” asked Ed early on the morning of June 16 as we drove to the Market.

“Tuesday, June 16th,” I nonchalantly answered not realizing it wasn’t going to be like any other Tuesday or any other June day.

27 years ago Ed and I had a mental concept of a market for the “becoming more popular” Madeline Island. Years earlier he had done a butcher’s apprenticeship in a 20 man shop. I had been raised and trained in a family bakery. After years of being students and then teachers we decided to use our food and business knowledge to operate the Island Market.

We were told by bankers when we tried to get start-up money, “A grocery store will never make it on the Island.” Those were challenging words and Ed was a persuasive talker. He used words and ideas to get monetary support from several summer residents who were willing to loan us money to see if our concept would work. Actually, they believed in him.

Going into this business was the final Hartig adventure. Ed so enjoyed being on Main Street in the midst of Island activity. There was an endless supply of people to engage in conversation.

On June 16 he greeted customers and chatted all morning. At 12:30 he felt tired and thought he’d sit in his favorite chair and sneak a nap. He faced the lake, put on his straw hat, and closed his eyes. Ed breathed his last breath in the very market that “would never make it.”

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