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August 16, 2013

Gluten-free store to close its doors in southeast Rochester

Once the Cupboard is bare or at least pretty empty, a small specialty grocery store in southeast Rochester will close their doors for good.

Jane and Mike Mueller have decided to shut down The Gluten-Free Cupboard after about 10 years at 1833 Third Ave. S.E.

GlutenfreeChanges in their lease coupled with more competition from the Big Box stores and the Internet inspired the couple to retire a little earlier than they had planned.

Jane Mueller says while the small 675-square-foot shop has remained financially stable, it has never been a big money maker.

"We haven't had paychecks for ourselves for the past 10 years," she said.

They originally opened the store to fill a community need that their family understands all too well.

The Muellers, along with their son, Christopher, have celiac disease, so they can't eat gluten. That means no wheat, oats, rye, barley or malt.

Their store carried gluten-free breads, cookies, cakes, cereals, pancakes, vitamins, sauces and frozen items.

When they opened the store, such products were very difficult to find locally. In the past several years, such items have made it onto the shelves of more mainstream stores like Hy-vee and Walmart.

The Muellers hope to close up by the end of the month. They are holding a "Going Out of Business sale" to clear out as much of their inventory as possible.

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