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Murray’s Market Offers Selection Beyond Its Size

Located near the middle of the Florida Keys, Murray’s Market is a small grocery store that carries a large variety of goods. Jay and Jeri Haggard bought Murray’s Market on Summerland Key from Ed and Lil Murray in 1991. Jeri Haggard passed away in 2000, and now the market is run by Jay, son Drew and daughter-in-law Ginny.

“I hear people say all the time that we have really unique stuff and hard-to-find items, and I try to have things that you can’t find anywhere else,” Ginny Haggard said. 

The market is known for its fresh-cut meats, gourmet items, deli subs and sandwiches and more. Being an independent grocer located in the Keys makes getting supplies more expensive during normal times, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made getting items even more difficult, Haggard said.

“We’re not big, so obviously I pay more,” she said of supplies. “Being a small independent grocer has its challenges, of course. But it’s also a great thing because we have a big local clientele, and then we have visitors – we call them snowbirds – that are here from December to March or April, and they come back every year.”

The customers, both locals and snowbirds, become family, Haggard said. “We have a lot of repeat customers, and it’s just kind of like one big family where people come and do all their grocery shopping, which is very nice for us.”

Located about 25 miles north of Key West, the closest big chain grocery stores are on Big Pine Key, which is about seven or eight miles from Murray’s Market. In addition to the local Summerland Key customers, Murray’s draws some shoppers from Big Pine but also from Ramrod, Cudjoe and Sugarloaf Keys.

Haggard said the market relies heavily on the tourists but also on the locals that live there year-round. “We’re very, very blessed and grateful to have them,” she said.

Staffing is another challenge the market faces that is an issue across the grocery industry. Currently, Murray’s has nine employees, Haggard said. Staffing is one of the reasons the store has not offered online services, she said.

“I’m sure you hear this a lot, that staffing is an uphill climb anywhere, but here it’s a huge uphill climb because, again, I’m a small family-run independent grocer with a grocery margin. And the cost of living here is ridiculous,” Haggard said. “But we are very, very grateful for what we have.” 

While Murray’s Market does not have online services, its grab-and-go and prepared meals are popular, even more so since the pandemic, Haggard said. She personally makes all the homemade meals offered at the market. These include shepherd’s pie, Swedish meatballs, pot roast over mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, chicken fajita bowls and other dishes.

“Shepherd’s pie by far is the winner,” said Haggard, when asked which meal is the most popular.

Although a small store, Murray’s Market is a large presence in the Summerland Key and surrounding communities. “We absolutely try to be very involved in our community and very connected to them,” Haggard said.

For more information, visit murraysmarket.org.

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