In 1918, a small general store opened its doors on the corner of Alma and Main in the village of Plain, WI. The village is nestled in the rolling hills of Sauk County and is located about 50 miles west of Madison. The general store was owned and operated by the Phillip Bettinger family. In those days, a general store not only carried groceries, but also basics necessities like shoes and furniture. That may be why the Bettinger family named it the Big Store. Through the years the store was passed down through three generations of Bettingers. First to Phillip’s grandson, Phil, and his brother, Harold, who re-named the store to Bettinger Brothers.
Eventually Phil became the sole owner of the store and re-named it Phil’s Food Mart. Primary products were grocery and household maintenance items. In 1985, Lew Bettinger, great grandson of Phillip Bettinger, took over the business, and shortened the name to Phil’s. He and his wife, Joy, introduced catering, a CSA program, and small deli until 2012. Then something wonderful happened.
Due to changing economic times the Bettingers considered closing the store. However, because of its long history in Plain, they asked the community if there was interest in perhaps converting it to a locally-owned grocery cooperative. The community was enthusiastically in favor of keeping the grocery store in the village.
In late 2012 and early 2013, a volunteer interim board of directors along with a Task Force of about 30 individuals, diligently worked through the process of converting the 6,400 square foot grocery store to a locally-owned grocery cooperative. In March 2013, Phil’s Food Mart officially became Honey Creek Market cooperative.