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Boise’s Roosevelt Market is closing — but the iconic establishment will live on

Boise’s iconic Roosevelt Market is set to close in mid-December — but the building’s owners say the East End market will definitely have a future.

Susan Wilder, 68, and Nicki Monroe, 64, who run the market, announced they are retiring after 14 ½ years. The co-owners took over the market in 2003. Through their charm, personalities and signature chicken salad, they turned it into a community touchstone for the neighborhood. Kids from Roosevelt Elementary hang out after school, families keep old-fashioned “accounts” for groceries, sundries and candy, and their summer block parties draw crowds.

Mayor Dave Bieter even presented Wilder and Monroe with Boise’s Good Neighbor Award in 2011 and 2018.

But now it’s time for a new chapter, Wilder said.

“It’s been a blessing,” Wilder said in a phone interview. “I wouldn’t give that up for anything. We’ve watched the children grow up. We have so many good memories and stories.”

“This is a decision not lightly made,” Wilder posted on the market’s Facebook page. “We want to thank all of our families, friends and neighbors for all their support over these past 14 1/2 years. We have laughed, cried, celebrated and mourned with all of you. You are our family!”

The Roosevelt Market — one of the last neighborhood markets in Boise — will close on Dec. 15.

Roosevelt market
The Roosevelt Market, one of the last neighborhood stores in Boise, is up for sale. Now a community group is banding together to purchase the building and help save their beloved market. Darin Oswald Idaho Statesman file photo

What’s next for the market building?

Co-owners of the market building Jill Simplot and her mom, Pam Lemley, said they were “thunderstruck” by the news and are unsure of the specifics of what the market’s future will look like because it’s so sudden.

“This is a surprise to the neighborhood and to Jill and Pam,” said Jennifer Russell, a friend and spokesperson for Simplot and Lemley. “The future of the market is unknown, but the intention is to carry on with this iconic establishment.”

“We’ll be looking new proprietors to run the market in 2019,” said Lemley, who grew up in the grocery business.

Some work will need to be done on the more than 100-year-old structure after the Roosevelt Market closes in December. Simplot and Lemley hope to reopen in late spring or early summer, they said.

The mother-daughter team recently purchased a property across the alley, to the south of the store. There, they are developing outdoor gathering spaces, including a bocce ball court and picnic and event areas. They also are planning to develop culinary gardens with the idea of working with Roosevelt Elementary to offer educational opportunities for its students.

The quarter-acre property extends to Jefferson Street and also contains three small units, a 500-square-foot standalone home, and a duplex with two 500-square-foot units.

“We’re still developing our ideas for the property,” Simplot said in a phone interview. “It was originally intended as overflow for the market and a place families to gather.”

The market closing won’t change that, Lemley said.

Whatever the future holds, “we’re committed to it being a market or something to do with food,” she said.

“And there always will be penny candy,” Simplot said.

“It’s the end of an era,” said Rebecca Tabb, who grew up in Boise and has worked part time at the Roosevelt for several years when she’s home from college.

“It’s been such an important part of that neighborhood ... There will never be anything like it.”

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