McMinnville is a town characterized by grit, full of eccentric businesses with a mix of both new and long-standing fixtures in the community. One of these unique gems is Diana and Todd’s Mac Market, a gathering place for the entire community.
Diana and Todd moved to McMinnville about three years ago, having previously lived on the road together. They spent a lot of time exploring the west coast in their airstream camper, until finally being drawn back to McMinnville.
McMinnville, Oregon: Yamhill county’s largest city, and a central gathering place for some of the greatest creative ingenuity in the west valley region. On the surface, Diana and Todd were inspired by the industry made up
of both hands-on trades workers in culinary breweries and the arts, as well as pioneers on the digital frontier, creating vast opportunities for small-town innovation. On a more personal level, Diana and Todd were drawn to the strangeness and magic of the community and culture, spearheaded by locally owned businesses, historical festivals and not to mention, UFO enthusiasts.
Above all, Diana and Todd saw the opportunity to invest in the historic Huberd Shoe Grease building on McMinnville’s Alpine Avenue, as they acknowledged the space’s potential as a gathering place for food and drink in the heart of Oregon’s wine country.
Mac Market — a place to taste — was opened in the fall of 2019. What started as a general gathering place became an interactive community hub for food and drink, yoga and recreational activities, live performances, as well as dance and music. Truly, something for everyone.
After six months as an active business, rising concerns of the COVID-19 virus challenged Diana and her team to reimagine daily operations in a new and remote capacity.
The COVID-19 restrictions hit hard and fast — though Diana says that she and her team were no strangers to challenging territory. “I think we had a bit of an advantage being in the middle of a startup — the team was already in agility mode.” She said, reflecting on the initial launch of the business. The required changes have challenged the team to align the company values with remote forms of connectivity and evaluate their methods of communication. Diana expressed pride in the development of these systems and acknowledged that not seeing customers is one of the biggest changes in daily operations.
Along with having many more phone and web interactions with customers than ever before, Diana and her team created a drive-through meal service paired with an online menu. These grab-and-go meal kits consist of ingredients and instructions for customers to cook their own meals at home after picking them up at Mac Market. “We talk to people at the drive-through pickup spot and there’s a certain sweetness in the tone. I think we’re all paying attention to each other more because we’re all going through the same erratic notions.” Says Diana.
In addition to creating methods to stay connected with the community in thoughtful ways, Mac Market is supporting other local businesses as well. Last month, they partnered with YCAP to provide space for the association to briefly store food boxes from their food drive. Diana says; “My biggest inspiration has been connecting with and observing local long-established businesses. They have so much grit, which is representative of the town’s ingenuitive spirit and scrappiness.” Noting the mutual support between Mac Market and other local companies, Diana says; “The support we have received is affirming. It makes me feel like we’re here for a reason.”
“I’m also inspired by my team and by the way Mac Market has grown.” Diana said, reflecting on how she and Todd’s idea became an inspiration and livelihood for other people.
The current situation is uncertain. Knowing that, Diana’s focus is on sustaining the morale of her team while tapping into her creative value as a leader. “Change is good.” She said, despite the difficulties. “It is the driving force for progress; the will to survive.”
Moving forward, Diana believes that the force-pause of the shelter-in-place order has given her and her team a chance to reflect and evaluate their authentic values as a company. She noted that Mac Market has expanded in lots of different ways and things are still getting figured out as the business evolves.