Today marked an end of an era – Judi Kelly’s ownership of Doyle’s Market.  At 4 pm, the doors closed and will remain that way for the next couple of weeks as the transfer takes place.  When it next opens near the end of March, the store will be under the ownership of Carol Butera and Lori Giorgi.  Both are residents of Lake Columbia.

Those who became aware of the change, stopped by today to exchange greetings and reminisce.  It was 12 years ago when the Doyle’s name first appeared on the building, replacing Robert’s.  Judi says the new owners intend to keep the name Doyle’s.

Will Judi and her husband, Mark, continue to live on Oakwood?  “Yes,” says Judi, and “you may see more of us now that this transition has taken place.”  But first, Judi and Mark will take a road trip without an agenda, but it will definitely be somewhere warm.

Asked about her feelings on this day, Judi says “if I start talking about it, I’ll start crying.”  She is deeply appreciated of “how welcoming the Clark Lake Community has been.”  She adds, “now I look forward to being a customer of Doyle’s.”  Many at Clark Lake will attest to how helpful Judi has been to lake activities.

Those who visited Doyle’s would usually pet Clark.  The friendly lab, who passed away not too long ago, is still remembered.  One customer created this remembrance.

The Kelly’s did not grow up at Clark Lake.  Judi had wonderful summer memories from time spent at Lake Fenton.  Looking to experience more of that, she and Mark found a place here in 2002.  For the next decade they spent as much time as possible at the lake, mostly weekends during the summer.  When their youngest son finished high school, Judi and Mark were no longer tied to Royal Oak, and pondered what was next.  Should they make Clark Lake their permanent home?

Certainly, the thought of purchasing a store had never crossed their minds. “Neither Mark nor I ever had a desire to run our own business.” As it turned out, a seed of change was planted over a period of time. “We have a large group of close friends and would often have as many as 20 visitors at a time.  We’d run out of things, and walk to Robert’s Grocery to meet the needs.”

In May 2011, their new direction began to take shape. “I stopped by Robert’s and asked what’s new.”   Robert’s owner, Ed Davenport had the store for sale. “It came to me strongly that Clark Lake really needs this store. With kids grown up, and Clark Lake on our minds, suddenly the idea of making sure that store remained made sense.”

Judi and Mark signed papers to purchase Robert’s Grocery in February, 2012.  They thought the place needed a coat of paint. Then things snowballed. “In 30 days, we not only painted, but tore out the old shelving and counter, installed new, and put in improved lighting.

The start-up was a family affair.  Judi and Mark’s eldest son stayed in their Royal Oak house until they sold it a couple of years later.  Their middle son, Scott, was an integral part of getting the store routine established.  He moved to the lake to help with the remodeling and then stayed on to help with “opening weekend,” leaving a year and a half later. Their youngest, Grant joined the Air Force right out of high school and then attended Central Michigan University.

Doyle’s was ready for action on March 16th, 2012.  And this chapter in Judi and Mark’s life closes today, 12 years later.

Judi and Mark continue to own the original Robert’s location, on the east side of Hyde Road.

The original store was built in 1928 and owned by Edward Blake. W.T. Roberts bought it in 1938. Doyle’s building today is across the street and dates to the early 1960’s.