Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wanted: Grocery Store

On a recent trip to southwest VA, we passed a vacant grocery with this sign in the window:

It was definitely the saddest sign we'd ever seen.  The grocery had shelves and checkout lines, but no food or people.  We heard later that the store has been that way for years. Vacant and longing.

So, I can only feel so guilty for being so completely obsessed with creating a green grocery in my neighborhood.  It is all I feel like I am capable of talking about, thinking about or working towards. On a recent trip to see my brother in Austin, (on my vacation) I asked him to take me on a tour of their neighborhood market.  We took many photos and asked strange questions to the staff regarding square footage and traffic.

Here I am, camera in hand, considering the Farm to Market produce display in Austin.

Recently, Jess and I took a trip exclusively to look at small groceries in Virginia.  Our first stop was Greenwood Gourmet Grocery in Crozet.  This lovely store has perfect picnic items for your next trip on Skyline Drive, or fancy camping trip.  We even happened upon a wine tasting there with Kirsty Harmon, the winemaker at Blenheim Vineyards.  This was a happy place for me- so charming and packed full of beautiful food and wine.
Greenwood Gourmet Grocery has pantry staples and fun treats, many from Virginia!

Staunton has two groceries we wanted to check out.  Cranberry's Grocery and Eatery has all kinds of health food items, supplements and vitamins as well as produce, meat and dairy.  This region is so rich in agricultural gifts, the grocery can easily source from several farms.

Kathleen, the owner of Cranberry's, bought me breakfast at the eatery and we talked shop.  I was so relieved that after nine years of being a small grocery owner, she said she'd do it all over again.  The 'adventure', as she called it, clearly made her happy.  This was such good news for me, as I am still on the other side of the looking glass, wondering what happens once you leap.

Cranberry's Grocery and Eatery is a lovely spot with fantastic coffee and delicious food for every eater!
We also checked out George Bowers Grocery while we were there.  This fun nightspot would be exactly where I'd want to hang out if I lived in Staunton.  Brian talked to us for hours in his shop, which is in a gorgeous converted school. He, too, was a very happy business owner, full of stories and recommendations and very sage advice.  Plus, he makes a mean hummus plate!

Jess and Brian at George Bowers
I am so grateful to all of the business owners (including my dentist) who have indulged my endless questions, (I swear, I am in the toddler phase of small business) and to my friends and family who are so supportive in this great adventure.  Thanks to our wonderful neighbors as well, who have wanted a grocery store and are enthusiastic about its potential.  We cannot wait to bring it to you!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing all of your great finds!! I can't wait to see how of this inspiration comes to fruit-