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FLAT ROCK — Like Kathy and Richard Dean before them, Shannon and Dustin Zlacki decided to uproot from home, buy a business in little Flat Rock, N.C., and work side by side long hours six days a week.
The difference is the Zlackis don't have to build the business from the ground up. The couple has bought Dean's Market and Deli from the proprietors who made it what is today — a popular hangout for retirees and a few working folks and a place to grab a homemade biscuit, cup of soup or sandwich. It's the leading food market in the Village of Flat Rock. Well, it's the only food market in Flat Rock.
"We were looking for a change," Shannon Zlacki said. "The children grew up and got out of the house. We visited in June and fell in love with the area. We came back over Labor Day and fell in love with the place. We thought it was adorable."
Dustin had sold his window cleaning business. Shannon, who has worked as an office manager, loves to cook. They left Pittsburgh and headed south.
They looked at several restaurants and bars that were for sale.
They loved Flat Rock "because it was quaint," she said. "We love the Little Rainbow Row they've got going. It just reminded us of an area we would visit if we were on vacation. The other places we looked at were bars. We decided we didn't want to stay up until 3 a.m."
Early to bed and early to rise is in their future if they're going to take over the bacon-and-egg biscuit duty. The market is open 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. The deli closes at 4 p.m. weekdays and 3 p.m. Saturday.
Shannon says she plans to keep the same menu. Kathy Dean is sharing recipes, and both Deans are staying on to train the new owners and introduce them to regular customers for the next two weeks. Shannon promises a few Pittsburgh specialties, including chopped ham barbecue and French fries on sandwiches. Dean's doesn't have a deep fryer now.
The Deans moved north from Sarasota 21 years ago to start the market and deli; the Zlackis moved south. The gender roles are staying the same: Dustin will man the cash register, as Richard has been for years.
The Zlackis have a 24-year-old son, Tristan, who is in Afghanistan on a defense contractor job. Their daughter, Tierney, a senior at Kent State University in Ohio, is the baker of the family, her mom says. The mom has an oven waiting for her on Greenville Highway.
The Deans plan to stay in the area and enjoy what so many of their Flat Rock customers enjoy.
"We're going to try to retire," Kathy said. "We are just so proud of what we accomplished, and it feels really good to hand it off to someone that wants to do it and has the energy to do it."