Decades of Burger family tradition ends in a few months.
“For 40 years, one of us has opened the store, one of us has closed it,” Tony Burger says.
He’s talking about Burger’s Market,the small, family-run grocery that stands across from the Louisville Collegiate School. It’s something of a landmark for commuters on Grinstead Drive.
Burger’s Market closes in March.
The Burger family has run the store since 1958, when the father of the current owners Tony and Jeff Burger purchased it. Tony is now 65 and Jeff is 64, and Tony says it’s time to retire.
The brothers decided to close the store last May, but told their employees on Dec. 26. The store’s final day of operation will be March 16.
“We thought about staying open through the Kentucky Derby, because it’s a big month for us. But I thought, this year we can actually go to the Derby,” Tony Burger says.
After March 16, the store’s future is uncertain. Burger says at one point a high-rise developer inquired about buying it. Burger says there’s also been interest from those who would like to buy the store as is and keep it a market.
But this is 2013, and family markets aren’t easy to find. Burger says his nephew works at the store, “and he’s a good worker, but it’s hard for one person to do.”
When asked whether this is another sign that the era of family-owned markets is ending (though maybe that passed a long time ago and Burger’s was the anomaly), Tony Burger says it’s just the end of an era for him.
“It’s the only job I’ve ever had,” he says.