Local vendors’ goods line the shelves at the Garden Market. Photo by Kat Bell
The Garden Market in Montevallo officially opened its doors with a ribbon cutting put together by the city’s Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, March 12.
The Dillards, Cindy and John Guthrie, decided to open their shop out of love for each other and the community around them.
Some of the items they sell include fresh produce, cheese, peanut butter, candy, various pickled vegetables, Amish butter, different types of meats and soap.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s excitement mixed with fear. We are investing so much into this,” said Cindy Dillard.
One of the main reasons the duo decided to set up shop in Montevallo was to keep John home.
“I’ve spent the past almost eight years working overseas for the state department. I want to be with my family and stay home,” said John Dillard.
A number of the products found in the Garden Market are produced in the Montevallo-Calera area.
“We’ve got several items from local artists, so we’re hoping to support the community,” said Cindy Dillard.
The peanut butter, which lines a section of the store, was provided by the Medder’s Family Farm, another husband and wife duo who work out of Montevallo. Ashley Medders described the Garden Market as something that has helped her and her husband’s business see more growth.
“This was actually our first official store shelf, and when they picked us up a couple of other stores within the last couple of days have picked us up. It jumpstarted us. It’s been amazing.”
Medders also hopes that come holiday season, they can help provide produce and other goods for the Garden Market.
“We’ve also discussed things like fresh chicken, turkey and other stuff for Thanksgiving that we raise non-GMO and free range on our property that we are hoping to stock here once we get more established and they grow and we grow,” said Medders. “We’re hoping this is a good partnership for our farming. We are Montevallo supporting Montevallo.”
As spring and summer arrive, the Dillards also hope to offer more fresh produce from the area at affordable prices.
“People can come get the farm and garden, feed and seed and so on and so forth that they need and not have to pay a fortune for it. Also get a better quality than what you get at the big chain stores,” said John Dillard.
1993 UM alumna Cindy Dillard is also hoping to provide a space for students to come and study.
“We want to eventually have a place that you can come that’s comfortable, be a place where people can enjoy and come and get away from the rush,” said Cindy Dillard.
Alex Warren, a student at UM, said she is grateful that a place with nice people and organic items is accessible to students now.
“It’s way closer than Walmart, and I just feel better buying here. I know that the ingredients are natural and that the people that work here are nice and make a point to get to know you,” said Warren, a sophomore biology major.
The Dillards are also looking to include ice cream, picnic tables, free Wi-Fi, a sandwich deli counter and other amenities as their business grows.
“I am most excited about an opportunity to work with my husband, do something together and have him home. I swear, it’s just the best thing. It really is. We are just hoping we offer something to the community that makes it worthwhile,” said Cindy Dillard.
The Garden Market is located at 4660 Highway 119. Store hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.