Our Story


With hearts full of hope and ambition, Thurman and Louisa Hays move to Johnstown, Colorado from Indiana. They purchase the Grocery Stock and Gent’s Furnishing of Blackenbush & Kinney, marking the beginning of Hays Mercantile. The store becomes a local treasure, offering everything from cozy sweaters and warm coffee to essential groceries.


Enthusiastic about nurturing their community, Thurman and Louisa relocate Hays Mercantile to the parish building on lower Main Street. They expand their Grocery and Dry Goods selection to better cater to Johnstown’s needs. At just 13 years old, their son Chet Hays becomes the store’s delivery boy. He fondly remembers the car—a Durant with the back seat removed—and the joy of making deliveries, connecting with the community, and hardly tall enough to see over the steering wheel.


Chet Hays, now grown and following in his parents’ footsteps, acquires a new building on lower Parish Ave (currently Fitness Avenue). The family business blossoms, and Hays Mercantile transforms into Hays Market as they focus on their grocery offerings. The grand opening of the new building is a true community celebration, with customers even lending a helping hand to move items across the street.


Chet Hays, honoring his parents’ legacy, keeps Hays Market thriving with the help of his youngest son, Rick Hays. As the third generation in the family business, they continue to serve the community with love and dedication.

“Although 1 1/2 year old Ryan is too young to work in the store, the rest of the family still does. 82 year old Thurman does odds and ends, while Rick is the manager along with his father Chet.”


Hays Market embarked on an exciting new chapter with the groundbreaking ceremony for their new store on Johnstown Center Drive. The Hays family, including Chet, Rick, and Ryan, worked together to prepare for the construction of the new building, which would soon become a beloved community fixture. That same year, Ryan Hays became the fourth generation to join the family legacy, stepping in to welcome and serve the community at the new store. Two years later, in 1998, Neal Hays joined the family business fresh from graduating from Wyoming University, bringing with him new ideas and fresh energy to continue nurturing the legacy that began over 70 years ago. Together, the Hays family has built a thriving business that continues to serve the community with pride and dedication.


While finishing his bachelors degree in business management from the University of Northern Colorado, Russell, the youngest of the three brothers, comes back to the family business at Hays Market.

“Pictured Russell Hays with daughter Lauryn Hays”


Hays Market embarks on an exciting new adventure, expanding its reach by opening a second location in Berthoud, Colorado. The family’s passion for serving their community continues to flourish, touching the lives of even more people.


Lauryn Hays, daughter of Russell Hays, completes her graduation from Grand Canyon University, proudly stepping into her role as the 5th generation to serve the Johnstown community. Her journey with Hays Market began at the tender age of 10, when she started bagging ice, later becoming a cashier at 14. Over the years, Lauryn has taken on various roles within the family business. She expresses her deep appreciation for the opportunity, saying, “Being the 5th generation is a huge honor and I plan to follow in the footsteps of my family and past generations. This community has raised me and I hope I can make everyone proud by continuing to serve for years and years to come.”