Hoffman’s Market Closes

Deb Abraham Spalding

Should auld acquaintences be forgot? We don’t think so!

Hoffman’s Market has closed and its building has been sold, but local children of all ages in Thurmont remember stopping at the market across from Thurmont Middle School and purchasing subs, sodas, and penny candy. These memories will not be forgotten.

“We’ve seen a lot of kids grow up,” Michelle Hoffman said. She added, “Little kids who used to come in from the elementary and middle school now come in with their own kids.” The Hoffmans themselves have had four generations of Hoffmans grow up in the store. The youngest is now three years old.

“It’s bitter sweet,” Sharon Hoffman said when she closed the door to customers at 5:00 p.m.on December 12, 2023, after almost 37 years in business.

She and her late husband Reno opened Hoffman’s Market at 405 East Main Street in 1987. The market was known for scrumptious deli sandwiches. “We make them fresh every morning. We pick good meats and my daughter, Michelle, makes them,” Reno Hoffman explained to The Catoctin Banner in 2009.

Recently, Thurmont’s mayor John Kinnaird shared, “Other than a short time as a hair dresser shop this has been a community general merchandise store. I remember first going there with my parents when we moved to Apples Church Road in 1961. Generations of kids have stopped here after school at what was known as the East End Grocery to grab some penny candy, an ice cream bar, or some soda pop. Charlie Hobbs ran the store for many years and I also remember Pinky Ambrose having it for a time. Everyone probably remembers when it was known as the ‘Purple Store.’ Lots of memories for sure!”

The Hoffmans sold the building at auction in November and on December 12, they held a customer appreciation day for customers to stop in for a sandwich, a piece of cake, and to talk about old times. Then they prepared the sale of the store’s inside contents at an auction the upcoming Saturday.

When asked if they felt Reno would approve of the sale and closing of the store, Sharon said, “The last thing he told me was, ‘Sell that damn store!’” If you knew Reno, that’s just the way he would say it. He was ornery and loved by many. The market was for sale several times before Reno passed.

In the store, it felt as if Reno’s spirit was still around. Michelle said, “We heard him yesterday several times. He was making his presence known!”

The Hoffmans hold their customers and community in high regard. Sharon said, “Thank you for all the wonderful years of kindness, patronage, and friendship. We’ve made a lot of friends that we consider family.”

Note: The Hoffmans have been long time supporters of The Catoctin Banner.  The market served as a distribution point where readers could pick up a copy of our latest edition. We are grateful.

Michelle Hoffman (left) is shown with her daughter Nicole Wentz, and her mother Sharon Hoffman on December 14, 2023 preparing the market’s contents for public auction Saturday, December 16, 2023.

Photo by Deb Abraham Spalding

December 12, 2023, was Customer appreciation Day at Hoffman’s. Pictured left to right are Karen Kinnaird, John Kinnaird, Sharon Hoffman, Michelle Hoffman, Kinsley Wentz, Bradley Wentz, and Nicole Wentz.

Courtesy John Kinnaird

Customers miss Reno Hoffman. He was ornery but sweet with a tell-ya-like-it-is manner. Here he is pictured in an August 2009 Catoctin Banner photo. He passed away October 19, 2021. He and Sharon were married for 56 years and purchased the former Anna’s Market building in 1987.

Photo by Carie Stafford

The Hoffmans handed out 2024 calendar keepsakes to visitors.

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