MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- Neighbors on Madison's east side are coming together to keep family-owned Jenifer Street Market up and running in its current building. People are raising money to help owner Stephen McKenzie hopefully buy the property.
McKenzie and his partner have owned Jenifer Street Market for 40 years.
"It's been a lot of work, you're pretty much seven days a week," McKenzie said.
However, McKenzie added that he loves the work and community.
"To be honest with you, it's still fun," he said. "People keep asking me when I'm going to retire and I'm not even thinking about it."
Customers also love having a family-owned store in their neighborhood.
"This is a place where we come together as a community and meet on Sunday mornings for free coffee, where you bump into your neighbors," said Trevor Fink, a regular customer.
Fink is also the president of the new Shenk-Atwood-Starkweather-Yahara (SASY) Business Development Association. The association formed after hearing news that the market's future was uncertain.
"We were seeing a lot of concern about the future of the market and people wondering how they could help," Fink said.
Schoep's Ice Cream owns the property the Jenifer Street Market rents. Schoep's recently filed for receivership, which means they have to sell off assets, including the building the market occupies.
The SASY Business Development Association hopes to raise $100,000 to help the market stay open.
"This is a cornerstone of our community and we don't want to lose it," Fink said.
McKenzie said he is overwhelmed by the community support. He hopes to buy the property himself, though he knows that might be difficult.
"Most likelihood, a developer will end up with the property and then we'll have to negotiate with that developer," McKenzie said.
However, he still feels good about the future.
"Especially with the type of support that we're getting from the neighborhood, I feel extremely optimistic," he said.
Buyers who are interested in the property will meet to bid on it on Monday, Dec. 16 at the Concourse Hotel.
The SASY Business Development Association has so far raised more than $28,000. If McKenzie fails to buy the property, that money could be used for renovations as the store negotiates with a possible developer or for moving expenses if the market is forced to move.