Jay McCormack, new owner of the Village Market, previously owned nine off-Hill Rio Ranch Markets. He and family market managers – daughter Tanya (left, foreground) and daughter-in-law Sarah (back, center) are completely revamping the iconic Idyllwild grocery with remodeling and new product lines. Not show is son Scott, who is the store director. A grand opening is scheduled for late May or June.
Photo by Marshall Smith

The growth of business activity in Idyllwild, and investments business owners are making to improve their marketability, show confidence in the promise of Idyllwild’s economic climate.

New Village Market owner Jay McCormack and family are close to completing a complete makeover of the long-established Idyllwild grocery outlet. The new floor and new shelving are in. Most gratifying to shoppers taking a fresh look at the market, the shelves are jam-packed with competitively priced items, including a line of organic products called Natural Directions. Catering to Idyllwild pet owners, McCormack has stocked a broad mix of pet food, including high-end products not otherwise available on the Hill. “We’ll continue to tweak pricing to offer the best value to customers,” said McCormack.

Paul White, co-owner with wife Katie of Idyllwild Bake Shop & Brew, is seen here in front of the soon to be “brew” section of their business. Called the Back Room, the new on-tap brew location, is farther back on the Village Lane walkway.
Photo by Marshall Smith

McCormack and son Scott, daughter-in-law Sarah and daughter Tanya have moved with speed and efficiency to redefine Village Market. Still to come before a late May/June grand opening are: an expanded deli, full line of produce, fresh meat with an in-house butcher and a total revamp of the in-market restaurant offering eat-in and take-out service.

Alicia and Stuart Eberhardt, owners of the Country Club Smoke Shop, have also leased the former Arriba Restaurant property and hope to open a comfort food breakfast, lunch and dinner eatery in the former Mexican restaurant. Photo by Marshall Smith
Rick Martinez, owner and broker of Idyllwild Town Real Estate, is in the final stages of remodeling his new location on North Circle — in the former Hub Cyclery location. Photo by Marshall Smith

Also betting on Idyllwild’s sustained business growth are Paul and Katie White. Their successful coffee, baked goods and eatery — Idyllwild Bake Shop & Brew — will soon expand to include a separate brew location. “We’re calling it the Back Room, with a cool speakeasy vibe and beer on tap,” said Paul. Grand opening is set for Saturday, June 3. The Back Room is located farther back in the iconic Village Lane site and is part of what is intended to be a revival of the quaint lane of shops.

Rick Martinez is a week or so away from showcasing his new Idyllwild Town Real Estate office on North Circle in the former Hub Cyclery location. Martinez and crew have installed new flooring, and are busy hanging art to enhance the dual function of realty office/gallery. Martinez has already hired two new agents, expanding yet again the number of real estate agents in Idyllwild.

Stuart and Alicia Eberhardt have leased the former Arriba Restaurant property that adjoins their Country Club Smoke Shop, a medical marijuana dispensary. Preliminary plans are to open a new comfort food restaurant called the 243 Bar & Grill. No opening date has been set.

Closing are Violetta Villacorta’s the Sage & the Butterfly in Village Lane, Terri French’s Let It Shine Gallery on North Circle (she will continue business operation from her home) and Kay Realty because of the passing of owner Kay Jennison.

Not closing, despite rumors to the contrary, is Ken Dahleen’s Uncle B’s Smokin’ Bar-b-que. “We’re doing well,” said Dahleen. Still operating, despite street talk to the contrary, is the Spiritual Living Center. “We’re still here and trying to renegotiate our lease,” said Phyllis Brown.

Idyllwild is in the process of gentrification — with the recent opening of Ferro and the Idyllwild BrewPub, the planned groundbreaking for the Idyllwild Community Center’s amphitheater, the first phase of four phases of construction on the new recreation landmark, and the sizzling real estate market in which inventory is down and homes are on the market for days or weeks instead of months.

The business activity presages continued interest in Idyllwild from off-Hill visitors and investors, which augers well for ongoing health of Idyllwild businesses.