Jesse Burkholder was born and raised on a farm in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. In his early 20’s, he started a wholesale chicken delivery business in the area. In 1975 he sold the highly successful chicken business, bought a farm and moved to Centre County. In 1985, after farming full time for 10 years, he made the fateful decision to rent a storefront in downtown Millheim and go into business. The Millheim location built its reputation on selling bulk food items and fresh deli meats and cheeses. He continued to run his dairy farm until the small market started to become profitable. Eventually, he was able to sell the dairy business and concentrate wholeheartedly on making the small storefront market a success. It was during this time that his reputation for customer service and freshness was starting to garner attention.
Our current location opened in 1992, amidst warnings from many of Jesse’s friends and local residents that “no business could ever survive down in that hole.” But survive it did. In fact, it thrived. Jesse seemed to always be there to greet the customers with a friendly smile and a sincere welcome. Many new residents have cited their first experience in the store being greeted by Jesse as one of the first of many great feelings they had about moving to The Valley. In 2000, Burkholder’s Market expanded, doubling its size.
Most recently, in January of 2013, Jesse “hung up his apron” and sold the business to two of his sons, Les and Russ. The store continues to be successful and to grow and expand on Jesse’s original, unwavering principals of freshness, friendliness, and service to God and community.