GoFundMe created to support Peter’s Market in Weston

WESTON — Peter’s Weston Market has served its community for more than 40 years no matter the occasion, and now the community is returning the favor.

Jim Magee, owner of Peter’s Market, said after facing the financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, he reluctantly started a GoFundMe to support the business. And as of 1:40 p.m April 11, the business’s online donation site has logged more than $106,000.

“I never expected this,” Magee said. “It’s unbelievable how generous people have been. The response has been overwhelming.”

Magee said he believed it was important to remain open on behalf of his longtime staff members and because he said he has a community responsibility.

“We want to make sure we’re there for the people of Westport and Weston who has been there for us for years,” he said.

Magee’s connection to Peter’s and the community runs deep. He’s been involved for more than 30 years and even met his wife at the store. On April 10, they celebrated the 36th anniversary of their first date and she continues to help run the business alongside her husband.

“It’s been a family business for years and years,” Magee said.

From running the business through the 2008 recession to serving customers through Hurricane Irene in 2011, he said he’s seen it all.

But because of the nature of the coronavirus, Peter’s, like many other businesses, has had to rapidly change in an ever-changing landscape. Now the store has transitioned online while only allowing 15 to 18 customers to shop inside.

“It’s really changed the way we operated,” Magee said. “We have to limit the amount of people in a store at a given time.”

The funds raised through the GoFundMe will help Peter’s transition into an online model, he said. With more than 75 vendors, the funds will also help keep items in stock for customers.

“What’s good about a small business like ours is we can be a little bit more nimble as long as we have the funds,” Magee said.

Over the past couple of years, consumer habits were already moving toward online, he said. But even after the coronavirus’ spread has slowed, a push toward online services may be part of the new normal, he said.

“I think people’s shopping habits may change for good,” he said. “I think it’s the future.”

Magee said he continues to be appreciative of his employees and the generous support of the community.

“We’re just trying to keep going and keep serving the community like we have been for years,” he said.