Maplewood market’s woes challenge a community to step up

If the people of Maplewood ever lament the loss of a locally-run market, they have only themselves to blame if they don’t step up in some fashion to help a couple victimized by bad luck and bad people.

Donna and Dave Borchert took over the market on Frost Avenue — then known as Stokke’s — in 2015 and haven’t had a profitable year yet, they tell the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Downed power lines led to a boiler room fire, thieves ripped out parts of their freezers and refrigerators for the scrap metal, and on Christmas someone broke in and stole a Salvation Army kettle and money from the till. The couple has paid for the $80,000 in damages out of their own pocket; insurance didn’t cover it all.

“Hard to do for a family of seven,” Dave Borchert said in an online fundraising effort. “But we poured our heart and soul into this store, our store, and we knew we had to keep going. We bought ourselves a job.”

They don’t want to close it down; they may have no choice, the paper says.

“We believe in our store. We believe in our community,” the couple says.

This is the difference between local businesses and big chains — loyalty to a neighborhood.

Now they’re looking for something in return, setting up a GoFundMe page to help recover the cost of the assaults on their dream. They set it up in October with a $30,000 goal. It’s raised only a fraction of it.

Stopping in to buy a steak probably wouldn’t hurt.

This is the reality for communities that say they want local businesses to thrive. It either supports them; or it doesn’t and they die.

The people of a community ultimately make the choice.