CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Just a few months ago before the coronavirus hit, the Batesville Market was placed in the hands of Kristen Rabourdin for the price of $1. Through these troubling times, she and her family have stepped up to the plate because, to the community, their country store is priceless.
“I think they were very brave to take it on despite what had happened,” Wayne Hamilton, a customer, said.
When the pandemic struck central Virginia, Kristen Rabourdin was given the option to take the easy way out, an option to call off her purchase of the store. Instead, she stood up to the challenge.
“We decided that now more than ever they needed their small hometown grocer," Rabourdin said,
As the brand new owner of the Batesville Market with no roadmap of how to navigate through this time, she had to adapt.
“We sort of had to come up with a new normal and pivot the business and kind of figure out what everything was going to be on a day to day basis,” Rabourdin said.
Rabourdin quickly began providing take away meals, launched online ordering, and even a delivery system which helped the large elderly population in the area. “It just really became important for us to make sure that we were here for the community, and make sure that we were able to serve in the capacity that they needed."
The response was tremendous.
“The community flocked around the store,” Rabourdin said.
“It’s been a lifesaver in some respects, " Hamilton said. "They’ve kept things going and kept it a neighborhood hub, which without, I think people would be a lot more isolated.”
John Pollock and his wife refer to the market as their “security blanket” because it is the only place his wife feels safe enough to go. They have been regulars of the market for 30 years and counting. “She will not go into any stores at all, so this is the only place she goes."
Pollock says the best part of the market is the way Rabourdin takes care of them. "When she first opened I noticed she didn’t have any pitas so I said, ‘Kristen can you get some pitas for me’ and three days later there were pitas!”
“It just makes Batesville that little bit more special,” Hamilton added.
Beyond these tough times, Rabourdin knows that the community will have her back - and she will have theirs, too.
“No one really knows what the future brings, but if nothing else we know that we’re all doing it together,” Rabourdin said.