Schoep’s Ice Cream, a fixture on Madison’s east side since 1928, filed for receivership earlier this month. Now, the business has a little over 50 days to find a new owner to pay off its debts.
The business employs about 150 people, but its closure would affect more than just its workers.
For the last forty years, the Jenifer Street Market has rented space from Schoep’s for its operations as a grocery store.
There were concerns in 2014 that the market would have to move after Schoep’s gave the market’s owners a lease that could only be terminated with a year’s notice, but the market remained after Schoep’s declined an offer to purchase the store.
Now, Alder Marsha Rummel says constituents are once again concerned about whether the market will remain when Schoep’s Ice Cream is sold.
“Everybody who lives nearby loves the Jenifer Street Market. So, when the news started to spread around after this weekend that they might have to close by the end of the year, that news spread by wildfire,” Rummel says.
“Generally speaking, everyone wants to do what they can. There were conversations about helping fund-raise. There was just the concern that we would lose this really great resource for the neighborhood,” she adds.
Rummel also shared in an email statement that the city has discussed potentially supporting the business through the Healthy Retail Access Program; however, the City’s Business Development Specialist Ruth Rohlich, who helped write the program, says the Jenifer Street Market couldn’t receive that program’s assistance.
“The Healthy Retail Access Program is designed to provide grants to almost exclusively for-profit neighborhood groceries that serve parts of the city that have been designated ‘food insecure’,” says Rohlich.
“So, right now as the policy is written for that program, Jenifer Street Market wouldn’t qualify because that area is not considered to be food insecure,” she adds.
In a verbal statement to WORT, Jenifer Street Market co-owner Steve McKenzie says the market is looking to make a serious offer to purchase the space it is currently leasing from Schoep’s.
According to Alder Rummel, the market is leasing the space from Schoep’s on a year-to-year basis with a below-market rent.
McKenzie also says he and his business partner will “do everything we can to ensure the Jenifer Street Market is going to be there [and that] the overwhelming support that we have received from customers and neighbors around the store has been fabulous.”