Deb's

Deb’s Fresh Market in Humansville closed last month. The store parking lot sits empty Wednesday, Oct. 2. 

For the second time this year, the city of Humansville is searching for a new leader after mayor Les Hendrich announced his resignation last month.

After previously serving as southward alderman, Hendrich was unanimously appointed mayor by the city’s board of aldermen Tuesday, April 9. He replaced Paula Jonson, who resigned in March.

Hendrich

Les Hendrich

Hendrich submitted a letter of resignation to city hall Tuesday, Sept. 17, citing frustration with a perceived lack of support for Deb’s Fresh Market, a local grocery store.

City clerk Tracy Mason confirmed the store had closed Saturday, Sept. 14. 

“It’s a loss for the city,” she said of the store.  

In his letter, Hendrich wrote that he’d informed the Humansville Chamber of Commerce and several of its citizens that the city was in danger of losing the store “if more local support was not given.”

Chamber president Ricka Mathews told the BH-FP Wednesday, Oct. 2, she hadn’t heard from Hendrich about the store. She said she wasn’t sure if he’d spoken to other chamber members. 

“He had not visited with me,” she said. 

Without delving into the details, Hendrich’s letter called out what he said was “appalling and rude treatment of both the owner/operator and her employees… when it was decided to close the business.”

The former mayor said in his letter that his frustrations led to his resignation. The BH-FP was unable to reach him for further comment. 

“I feel my concerned time and effort to help this city grow and change is of no avail,” he wrote.

Mathews said she didn’t have information about the business’ closing. Still, she said, it hits the town hard. 

“Any time you lose a business in a small town, it’s going to have a big impact,” she said. 

The chamber has worked to represent and help local businesses, which can sometimes seem like an uphill battle, she said.

“It’s always a challenge in a small town,” she said. “You have to think outside the box and work closely with your city government.”

Mason said the board met Tuesday, Oct. 1, and accepted Hendrich’s resignation. 

The aldermen now have the option of appointing a new mayor and could do so as soon as next week, she said. 

“But, from what I understand, state statute says they don’t have to fill it immediately,” she said. 

In his resignation letter, Hendrich expressed gratitude to his former colleagues on the board. 

“I thank the board of alderman for all their support and hard work during my tenure as mayor of the city of Humansville, MO, and wish them good will in the future,” the letter said. 

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