HOLLAND — Owners of a new specialty market pushed back the opening this spring of Market Zero in downtown Holland because of the pandemic, but they are already eyeing an expansion to the storefront next door.
Owners Kylie and Kevin Knight delayed the opening nearly two months until May 15, partly as a safety precaution for their own family.
“COVID-19 definitely played a big role in our delay,” Kylie Knight said. “I was also 8 months pregnant, so we just wanted to be extra safe before opening. We put the health of our child and employees first because we have so much first-hand contact (with customers).”
The market at 62 W. 8th St. on the ground floor of The Lofts at West Eighth Apartments sells a variety of fresh to-go food, beverages, speciality market items, beer and wine.
“During the summer we were consistently getting busier and sales were going up,” Knight said. “We missed out on not having Tulip Time crowds, but by word of mouth people were coming in.”
Despite the loss of Tulip Time, which draws an estimated $48 million in economic activity, the Holland Farmers Market has been helpful in drawing customers downtown. However, the owners hope activity is maintained to avoid reducing store hours.
“Otherwise, we’ve been pretty happy with the steady success we’ve been getting. Seeing the regulars come in on the same days lets us know we’re doing something right,” Knight said. “That’s definitely been a huge plus during the whole thing, seeing people coming back, and getting to know a lot of people on a first-name basis.”
Meanwhile, the Knights are taking on an additional business venture with a crepe restaurant next door to Market Zero. The space was previously leased by a separate restaurant owner for a Crepe Craft, though those plans were abandoned because of a family emergency.
“People seemed really excited about the crepe concept, and we were also excited to have a crepery next door,” Knight said. “When we heard he wasn’t opening, we said, ‘We can do crepes, too.’”
The Knights’ crepe restaurant will be called Kitchen Zero and is still under development, but the plan is to open in November. They plan to connect the two businesses to allow people to walk between the two spaces.
“Opening during COVID-19 is not ideal, owning your own business during COVID-19 is not really ideal,” Knight said. “But we’ve been pretty lucky for all the support we’ve been getting and have been able to keep the lights on and pay our employees.”