MISSOULA — Market On Front is celebrating its two-year anniversary under new owner Dennis Round.
Throughout the pandemic, the downtown business has continued service while adjusting to COVID-specific restrictions and procedures.
Round originally grew up in Florence and attended the University of Montana in 1989 where he met his wife, Robin. Since taking over Market On Front, he has seen the Market become a staple within the community and a local hot spot.
“Market on Front provides a great atmosphere for our customers to experience what Missoula, specifically downtown, has to offer,” said Round.
Market on Front attracts many out-of-towners and tourists, in addition to local customers for their famous breakfast burritos and sandwiches.
One of the advantages the Market has is its convenient location, situated as it is between East Front and South Pattee streets in the heart of the downtown business district.
The service industry was especially hit hard during the pandemic, where customer interaction was somewhat restricted due to mask and social distancing mandates.
As a result, Round had to pivot and readjust procedures, including scheduling, ordering, and customer management.
The short-term decrease in revenue on Market on Front caused Round to prioritize a new mindset “to be fluid [and be] able to adjust in a moment’s notice.”
In October 2020, Market On Front was forced to close its doors for eight days after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.
In response to the lost wages and tips of his employees during those eight days, Round set up a staff relief fund to help minimize the impact of lost paid days.
For one day, Round donated a dollar for every burrito sold. Another day, 100% of every coffee sale was added to the fund. In addition, a social media fundraising campaign generated donations from as far as Tennessee.
With the pandemic waning, Market On Front’s doors are open, and normal business hours have resumed. But Round has adopted some of the sanitary practices permanently to keep customers safe.
Looking to the future, Round hopes to “continue providing fantastic food with great customer service.”