There is little secret of the desire for more dining options in the local community.
Thanks to the innovative minds of long-time business owners Trina and Robbie Johnson of Merrill, shortly after the new year, community members can add one more option to their list with the opening of a “A La Carte Café at Johnson’s of Merrill.”
In looking back on the history of the Johnson’s local business prowess, innovative expansion has become a forte for the couple.
Following the relocation of Johnson’s Pharmacy in 2002, from 409 W. Main St. to their present 20,000-square-foot location at 1023 E. Main St., the couple has steadily expanded to include a variety of gifts and home decor as well as a ladies’ fitness center on the building’s lower level.
When the pharmacy closed upon Robbie’s retirement this past November, the Johnsons quickly converted the pharmacy area to a toy store and now, scheduled for a January opening, will be a new café.
The toy store became a reality due to the success of the Melissa and Doug brand line of toys, according to Trina. The couple sought to capitalize on that success by broadening their variety of toys in stock.
When the new café opens in January, variety will once again be a cornerstone for the Johnsons.
“I love to cook and entertain!” Trina adds with a chuckle, when asked of how the concept of a café came to fruition.
“This is something I have always wanted to do,” she adds. “In fact, we had plans to move forward with a dining concept when we relocated, but with family obligations and so on, it just didn’t work out. But now the timing is right. I am very excited!”
The A La Carte Café will be seated on the store’s lower level, complete with a handicap accessible entrance off of River Street and will feature a menu with an array of healthy and tasty options.
From smoothies with a variety of ingredient options, to sandwiches, omelettes, salads and desserts, Johnson’s will have a choice to suit about any palate.
In addition, Trina plans to offer flat bread pizzas as well as two hot soups per day with a possibility of daily specials.
“To start, we will focus on offering breakfast and lunch. Pending on how business goes, we may expand to include dinner in the future,” Trina explains. “I’ve been dreaming about this for a long time! It’s so very exciting for us seeing it all come together. After 14 years, we see it as a tremendous accomplishment to continue to provide a location for our customers to gather, socialize, shop and now eat. It’s been a very rewarding experience.”
Planned hours for the A La Carte Café at Johnson’s will be 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Johnson’s Gifts and Home Décor can be reached at 715-536-5940.