Casper’s last neighborhood grocery store celebrates 100 years of business

Grant Street Grocery and Market has been serving this central Casper neighborhood for 100 years. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

Small grocery stores were once a common feature in neighborhoods. Dozens of them dotted central Casper at one time.

Before families had multiple cars, having a nearby place to buy groceries and supplies within walking distance was essential to urban living. Over time they became less essential and have mostly vanished.

Only one such store has somehow bucked the trend.

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Grant Street Grocery and Market, nestled on the corner of Grant and Divine Streets, has been serving area customers almost continuously for 100-years.

The little landmark nearly missed its centennial. After months of struggling, the previous owners closed the store without warning in late 2015.

“I think the age of the building started to take its toll,” said co-owner Lindsey Grant. “A lot of these things that were original to the store just started to break down.”

Grant, along with neighborhood friends Terry and Del Johnson and Susan and Doug Holmes, decided to become business partners and rescue the local landmark.

“We were all having dinner and started talking about what Grant Street Grocery could be to the neighborhood and the community.”

The building was a time capsule, but not necessarily in a good way.

The systems were obsolete. Flooring was rotted from decades of water leaks and general wear and tear. There was no place for a professional kitchen. There were structural issues.

The old interior of Grant Street Grocery is seen shortly after the store was closed by its previous owners in 2016. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

The old Grant Street Grocery is seen after its previous owners closed the store without warning in 2016. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

The partners decided the building needed a complete gut overhaul in order to operate in the modern world.

“We had to essentially start from scratch…we just wanted to do it right,” said Grant.

The once dingy time capsule is now a bright, modern market that would feel at home in hipster Brooklyn. A dodgy old rear addition was demolished and rebuilt with a state-of-the-art cooler and professional kitchen.

A vintage clock that has graced Grant Street Grocery for decades is on display in the renovated store. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

Customers visit the renovated Grant Street Grocery and Market in April, 2017. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

Rather than standard grocery staples, the store specializes in unique and artisan foods, specialty meats and cheeses, and sweets from boutique makers. The Coffee Lab inside the store sells fine single origin beans and makes espresso and pour-over coffee. They also offer breakfast, lunch and take-home dinners.

With all of the physical improvements, the partners aimed to keep the same soul of the old corner store.

“Grant Street is special because of what it has offered to the community for 100 years,” said Grant. “I’ve had 70-year-old people come in and tell me stories about buying candy here when they were kids…it’s nice to continue that for the next generation.”

Grant Street Grocery and Market is celebrating its centennial all next week starting on Tuesday, Sept. 11, and culminating with an all-day block party on Saturday, Sept. 15. See their Facebook page and website for more information. 

Travis Johnson makes esspresso in Grant Street Grocery and Market on Thursday morning in Casper. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

Grant Street Grocery is seen on Thursday morning in Casper. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

A historic photo shows Grant Street Grocery in the 1940s. The inset photo shows how the store looked shortly after it was built in 1918. (Casper College Western History Center)

The Grant Street Grocery delivery truck is seen in the 1920s. (Casper College Western History Center)

Grant Street Grocery is seen as it gets a complete renovation in Nov. 2016. (Courtesy Lindsey Grant)

The interior of Grant Street Grocery is seen during its gut renovation in Aug. 2016. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)