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Monday, December 11, 2023

Ocala best friends open convenience store with locally sourced goods

Two best friends and next-door neighbors in Ocala have opened a new specialty convenience store that features a collection of locally sourced goods.

Baseline Market celebrated its official grand opening at 1903 SE 58th Avenue (Baseline Road) on Saturday, November 11.

The new business is owned and operated by best friends Anthony Esteves and Austin Simpkins, who have over 25 years of grocery experience between the two of them.

Austin Simpkins (left) and Anthony Esteves in front of Baseline Market
Austin Simpkins (left) and Anthony Esteves in front of Baseline Market, their new convenience store, at 8140 SE 58th Avenue. (November 10, 2023)

“We’ve done this our whole lives and we decided we wanted to do it on our own,” said Simpkins during an interview with Ocala-News.com.

After years of working for Publix and Winn-Dixie, Simpkins and Esteves, who live next door to each other in the adjacent community, say they wanted to provide a convenient and quick option for locals in the neighborhoods nearby.

“There’s nothing here. We want to service this area and not have people drive five miles,” said the owners, who are both lifelong Floridians.

Baseline Market in Ocala
Baseline Market opened for business on Saturday, November 11.

Baseline Market will feature a collection of conventional items that one might find at a convenience store, according to the owners.

The store will also feature health-conscious and specialty items, including Amish-jarred goods and locally sourced meats from Belleview Meat & Seafood, which is partnered with the store.

Produce at the business is also locally sourced from DeLeon Springs, according to Simpkins.

Goods at Baseline Market in Ocala
Baseline Market features a collection of locally sourced goods. (November 10, 2023)

The market even features an entire beer cave as well.

The best friends say they live in the neighborhood directly adjacent to the store and that their community, as well as nearby Rolling Greens Village, can access their store by golf cart.

“They can ride their golf carts up here, come get their groceries, and not have to go anywhere else,” said Simpkins, who said that was a big part of the friends’ vision for the location.

The new business will be open Monday through Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

For more information on the store and its products, follow the Baseline Market on Facebook.

UPDATE: A previous version of this story had the incorrect address. Baseline Market is located at 1903 SE 58th Avenue (Baseline Road)