Penns Valley

Confer’s Country Market to close as owners announce retirement

Confer’s Country Market has stood the test of time in Centre Hall, but the owners are about to close the doors.

Co-owners Michael and Darlene Confer said their last day of business will be Tuesday.

It’s a bittersweet development.

“That’s exactly it,” Darlene Confer said. “We’ve been so involved in so much for such a long time, especially at the deli, but we’ll have to be a part of the community in different ways. As you know I am with the Grange Fair, so I’m busier than ever.”

The Confers are looking forward to other things.

“Life changes, and we’re having some changes in our lives,” Darlene Confer said.

Michael Confer recently retired, and they also want to have more freedom to travel to Richmond, Va., to visit their first grandchild, who is expected to be born in the fall.

“We’re looking forward to a lot of traveling for baby Confer,” she said.

It will still be hard to let go, especially for customers.

One of the favorite items on the menu has always been chicken salad.

“Like I told a TV reporter, it’s been to Maine to Massachusetts to Florida and everywhere in between,” Darlene Confer said. “Somebody purchased it once and had it packed in dry ice to have it shipped to Las Vegas where they were traveling.”

They’ve been making 60 pounds of it a day since they recently announced the impending closure.

The couple started the business 25 years ago on a gut feeling that the town needed a deli.

“We were employed elsewhere, found out the building was available, and I suggested someone do something with it and put a deli in it,” Darlene Confer said. “My husband said I should make an offer on it, so I made an offer and suddenly we were in retail.”

It’s a decision they’re thankful they made together.

“It’s been fantastic, all of the community support we’ve had,” she said. “People really enjoyed all of the homemade products. A lot of State College and Bellefonte people came, too, for the homemade goodness. We’ve had a lot of good employees and good managers. It’s amazing. Now we have employees that are children of the employees we had when we started.”

The Confers are negotiating to sell the property.

“I sure will miss it,” Darlene Confer said.