Community Tap of St. Joe Seeks Approval to Join The Cheese Lady at M63 Market

Another piece of the puzzle could fall into place tonight for The Cheese Lady and other vendors for the proposed new M63 Market on Main Street in St. Joseph if the St. Joe City Commission provides a nod of approval. Then you can get wine with your cheese this fall.

The robust and exciting new project being shepherded by Deb Sailor and her husband Rick Molitor at 301 Main Street continues renovations and planning for the new year-round, indoor, farmers market in the city's central business district. Meanwhile, a proposed new vendor there, Community Tap of St. Joseph, is seeking approval from the City Commission tonight for her application to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission for a Class C liquor license within the marketplace.

Kelly Vega is the owner of Community Tap of St. Joseph. She is purchasing the liquor license from Lakeshore Lanes in order to sell beer, wine and cider at her new Tap inside the M63 Market.

In order to garner approval from the Michigan Department of Licensing & Regulation's Liquor Control Division, she is required to obtain a recommendation from the local jurisdiction, in this case the St. Joseph City Commission, for a new on-premises license application.

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St. Joseph Department of Public Safety Deputy Director Steve Neubecker has asked the City Commission to make that recommendation if they wish to approve Vega's new enterprise expected to take flight this fall when the market goes fully operational.

Sailor and Molitor, who for years were franchise operators at Jimmy John's in both downtown St. Joseph and in the Fairplain Plaza before they sold those businesses, are emerging from their "self-imposed" retirement to launch the new market where they will anchor operations with their new franchise with "The Cheese Lady."

Their dream of a new enterprise encompassing a year-round, indoor marketplace at the center of St. Joseph is underway, following the closure of the deal in the spring of the year to purchase the barrel-roofed building at 301 Main Street which for years was back of house operations for a banking institution, and more recently home to a small coffee shop and resale/consignment operation.

They are the 7th franchise in The Cheese Lady line up, which began with the original in Muskegon. There are other locations in Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Traverse City, Rochester and Farmington.

The Cheese Lady has an impressive selection of 150 artisan cheeses from all over the world, and availability varies from site to site, but there are some amazing things in the pipeline for downtown St. Joseph, a community the Molitors have grown to love deeply and love to give back to. Deb has been previewing the line up at the St. Joe Farmers Market on the bluff each Saturday for the past couple of weeks, as well.

Clearly, the building at 301 Main is far too big for a simple cheese shop, so they are currently lining up leases for other food and market vendors like Community Tap of St. Joseph. They also have a firm commitment for a Farm Stand offering fruits and vegetables, farm fresh milk, eggs and other products and others. Deb tells me that they are also working on getting a butcher, a bakery, a florist, "perhaps a fish monger," spice shop, and others.

Deb says, "We're still working through exactly who will be in there, but...it will be a food lover's paradise!"

Stay tuned.