I was very disappointed to visit the recently reopened Lake Hemet Market. While the old, stuck-in-the-’70s market definitely needed some TLC, it was always a fun stop for ice cream, fresh sandwiches, camping supplies or bait. Or one could spend quality time just reminiscing over its large selection of iron skillets and cookware.

Unfortunately, the complete interior remodel made it into just another slick merchandised convenience store — a 7-Eleven plopped onto Highway 74. It lost all its charm and uniqueness. It also seems to have lost its reasonable prices. $2.50 for a bag of M&Ms?

The Lake Hemet Municipal Water District, owners of the store, would have better served the visiting public, and local residents, if it had sought a local businessperson for the store’s upgrade. Rather, it chose their campground’s statewide corporate concessionaire, which appears to be only concerned about maximizing profit.

Being one of the few places to stop along Highway 74 between Hemet and the desert, the store’s location, with its wide Garner Valley vista, with a little innovativeness and creativity, could have been remodeled into a must-stop for travelers, RVers and motorcycle clubs. Now, I’ll only stop if I need to use the restroom. I can’t even get a good soda there anymore — they serve only Pepsi.

The addition of the wooden dining deck is a nice touch. But why — so I can sit and eat my overpriced microwaved burrito?

Ken Harrison
Cardiff By The Sea