A Neighborhood Gathering Spot 12

McLain’s Market Offers More Than Sweets

Customers have been flocking to McLain’s Market since it opened its doors in early October.  No doubt the 70 plus-year legacy of the beloved Waldo bakery helps draw them in, but the eatery’s warm, welcoming atmosphere and fresh menu keep people coming back.

McLain’s Market, just north of 435 and Roe, offers more than just baked goods and sweet treats. The new location offers a wide variety of breakfast and lunch items, as well as a “grab and go” section where you’ll find salads, wraps, sandwiches, homemade juice and protein balls. A full coffee bar is staffed with a professional barista, pouring the finest local coffees. In the evenings, you can get appetizers and desserts along with a small selection of beer and wine.

Local entrepreneur, Greg Hirleman, and his partners bought McLain’s Bakery two years ago and two of his children, Jeff Hirleman and Mollie Lothman, took on the task of managing the business. Building on the history of baking in-house and fresh every day, Jeff and Mollie expanded the concept to include breakfast, and eventually lunch, at the Waldo location.

The expansion was wildly successful, so the two siblings began looking to add a second location in south Johnson County.

“We grew up just down the street from McLain’s Market, and thought this area of town needed a special local eatery,” says Jeff.

“We felt familiar with this part of town,” adds Mollie, “and wanted to create a fun, local place where people could come and hang out.”

They chose a site that they drove past on a regular basis. It was a former gas station and convenience store that had sat idle for a number of years. They signed a lease in April, and the renovation began in mid-summer.

The transformation has been amazing. The wood and glass façade sets a welcoming tone as you enter McLain’s Market. Inside, the bright, open space features more natural wood, industrial tables and chairs, a cement floor and a collection of interesting light fixtures. A patio is the perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee or a sweet treat on a mild day. And, for those in a hurry, the drive-through can get you served and on your way in no time.

So how do this sibling business partnership work?

“I had always wanted to start a coffee shop and my sister a bakery,” Jeff explains. “We work well together. We have different strengths, which helps us navigate the various aspects of this business.”

“”I focus on customer service, training staff, interacting with customers,” says Mollie. “Jeff is calm in all situations, can fix anything, and he focuses on the kitchen processes and production.”

According to Mollie, they have an amazing team at McLain’s Market, and everyone is very customer focused.

“Jeff and I are excited to bring jobs to the area. We are very team oriented, and we all work together. For example, everyone shares in the tips, from the dishwashers and line cooks to the counter staff. It’s a very fun and fair environment for us and for all our employees.”

The two are very pleased with the reception McLain’s Market has received already.

According to Jeff, they wanted to create a welcoming space for the community to gather. “I think we’ve accomplished that with McLain’s Market. We are enjoying getting to know our new neighborhood.”