The owner of Brown’s Deli & Beverage plans to shut down the storefront May 24 unless he can find a buyer.
John Brown, 67, told the Journal-News he wants to sell the business at 740 NW Washington Blvd. because of health issues and also does not want to miss anymore family memories or milestones.
“I’ve farmed all my life, worked seven days a week just about all my life … and I missed my kids growing up and I’m not going to miss my grandkids’ ball games so much now,” he said. “There’s a lot more to life than just working.”
The Brown family has been involved in the Hamilton area retail scene for 120 years, including Brown’s Family Farm and Farm Market and has had a farm in Ross for longer than that, Brown said.
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Brown’s Deli & Beverage opened in January 2012, three months after Brown’s Marketplace closed on Main Street when its lease expired after four years.
Food offerings at the deli include meats, cheeses, pastas and other items supplied by Amish and Mennonite merchants from Northeast Ohio.
Customer emotions about the business run deep and some have cried after learning the store is closing, Brown said.
“We’ve got a unique business and … the way it’s folding up, it’s a shame,” he said.
Carol Newman said she and her husband are “pretty regular” customers at Brown’s Deli to purchase the store’s cheese balls and lunch meat.
“It’s much better here” than brand-name grocery stores, she said. “I just hate to see ‘em leave.”
Matt Von Stein, a member of Hamilton City Council, said he was sad to learn of the store’s closing Friday while shopping at the business and that he would miss most of all store employee Mary Vance.
“I usually come in for lunch meat and then leave with $80 worth of stuff is what ends up happening,” he said. “She takes me around, makes me taste stuff, so I buy that.”
Brown said he’s been looking for a buyer for the business for more than a year, but nothing has panned out.
“People don’t want the responsibility,” Brown said. “They don’t want to be tied down.”
The family will continue to have a presence at Hamilton and Ross farmers markets, as well as greenhouses run by John Brown’s wife, Joyce and their daughter, Jody Boyd.
But after decades of growing produce out in the fields of Butler County, Brown said he is most looking forward to further cultivating relationships with his children and grandchildren.
“Spending more time with the family,” he said. “That’s first.”
Staff Writer Greg Lynch contributed to this report.