King Ro Market in Round Pond will be under renovation for the next few months as co-owners B.J. Russell and Lori Crook prepare to add a new seating area to the store.
Russell said the plan for the renovations began to take shape when he made the decision to close the adjoining redemption center.
“We were trying to come up with a new idea to keep things fresh out here,” Russell said. “We had the idea to close down the redemption center and expand the store a little bit.”
Russell and his wife, Crook, decided to remove the wall separating the store from the redemption center. The garage doors in front of the building will be removed and replaced with a sliding door, and an awning will be installed over the loading dock.
“We’re really hoping to get more light in here and really open it up,” Crook said.
Renovations began Tuesday, April 19. Russell and Crook plan to have both indoor and outdoor seating available once the renovations are complete in late May or early June. King Ro Market currently offers a variety of baked goods and daily specials, such as macaroni and cheese and pulled pork prepared by Maria Bailey, the store’s baker and cook.
A new baker will also join the team to prepare artisan breads and cinnamon rolls, Crook said.
“Instead of having to take their meals to go, we hope people can sit down, enjoy their food, and have a good conversation,” Russell said.
The Bristol Board of Selectman approved a liquor license for King Ro Market during its April 13 meeting. Russell said he is still working with the state to complete the application process so customers can have beer or wine with their food.
The new cafe area will be named Smokey’s in honor of the store’s cat. Smokey the cat is “about 18 or 19 years old,” and well-known around Round Pond and Bristol, Crook said. Smokey has been with King Ro Market since Russell’s parents owned the store and can usually be found lying under the candy section or lounging on top of the newspapers, Crook said.
Russell’s parents have since passed away.
“They loved Smokey too,” Crook said. “I think they would like what we’re doing.”
Russell said he has talked with customers about the idea and has received positive feedback.
“Everyone seems really excited about it,” Russell said. “The community down here in Round Pond is so supportive, and we want to provide this service for it.”
Crook said she hopes the new addition will also provide year-round residents something to look forward to in the winter.
“We hope this takes off and gives people a place to get together in the winter,” Crook said.
The store hours will remain the same during the renovation, Russell said. King Ro Market is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day. Starting on Mother’s Day, the store will be open from 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.