Staff Photo: John Bohn Bruce Hosch, along with his wife, have opened Lilburn's Main Street Market during February. They sell fresh produce, inexpensive candy, beverages and other items at the market.
LILBURN -- Ask his wife, and everything here is the result of Bruce Hosch's post-retirement boredom.
The fresh squash and cucumbers, the apple fritters, the 10-cent candies. Boxes upon boxes of tomatoes. Seldom-found sodas like Nehi and Cheerwine. The Main Street Market -- an old-timey, produce-and-a-little-bit-of-everything-else store right across the street from Lilburn's City Hall -- started out as "just something to do."
"He just had too much time on his hands," Maria Hosch said with a laugh. "I don't think it's healthy."
Bruce, who dabbled in a little bit of everything during his lengthy career in the business world, retired about 10 years ago. When he and his wife spotted the vacant building at 79 Main Street last fall, they decided to step back out into the community they've lived in for 32 years.
Bruce, a partner at Dexter's Farm in Buford before tapping out some 25 years ago, decided produce was the way to go.
"I told (Maria), you know, I think I'm gonna buy me a job," he said.
And that he did -- to the tune of 12 to 14 hours a day, he said.
On most mornings, Hosch makes the drive to the state farmer's market in Forest Park, picking up the freshest produce available. Tomatoes are a top seller back in Lilburn.
The store also sells a line of Amish goods, jams, jellies and other pickled offerings. Tucked away in one corner is a selection of candy from the old days, the type you can buy for a dime per piece.
There are apple fritters made fresh in the tiny northeastern Georgia town of Tiger, and plenty more.
The decor is Maria Hosch's idea, with fruits and vegetables out front, handmade prices posted inside and plenty of antique touches throughout.
"It's just what appeals to me," Maria said. "It's the kind of place I would want to come in to."
Plenty of other folks feel the same way.
Business has been steady and climbing. The store lost money in February, its first month, but turned a profit in March. Advantageously positioned across Main Street from Lilburn City Hall and the city park, and right next to the entrance for other walking trails, Bruce Hosch said they get plenty of foot traffic.
Advertising has been minimal, because it hasn't been needed.
"It's a lot of word-of-mouth customers," Maria said. "That's what I like. They go back and tell people they liked it, and then they come in and say, 'Oh, so-and-so told me about it.' That's how you know you're doing something right."
Said Bruce: "We see some of the same old faces every day."