[image-1]It’s been exactly two years since Rachel Kingsbury opened The Grocery (3815 Lorain Ave., 216-303-9099), a green grocer dedicated to stocking and selling locally produced food items to those in the immediate neighborhood. That neighborhood – the stretch of Lorain at the western edge of Ohio City – continues to evolve with each passing month. Long-dormant storefronts have been filled with new tenants like The Plum, Herb‘n Twine and Ohio City Provisions, and we’ll soon get to play indoor shuffleboard at Erie Social.
“It’s really cool to see all the people who are settling in and putting down roots,” Kingsbury says. “New families, people having babies, people who are very committed to being in the neighborhood for a while. The more we can fit in here, the better it will be.”
Just like the neighborhood around her, Kingsbury continues to mold and shape her small grocery to better fit the needs of her customers, who actually change their needs throughout the week.
“I have adapted a product mix that is more along the lines of what the neighborhood needs, so, like, more quick foods during the week,” she notes. “On the weekends I’ll get the people who are looking for some fancy cheeses and things like that because maybe they’re having people over or they’re actually going to sit down and cook with their roommate or significant other or whatever.”
Kingsbury currently is converting the rear apartment into a new prep kitchen space with a walk-in cooler and plenty of work space. The improvements will facilitate the increased catering and box-lunch business the shop does, but also will permit the expansion of grab-and-go products for the retail space.
“The café menu has grown extensively with rice bowls and salads and sandwiches that are quick and easy and healthy and fresh,” she says. “About six months in we added a juicer and Vitamix for juices and smoothies. We opened up earlier to serve breakfast like bagel sandwiches and wraps, which are served all day.”
Moving forward, customers will begin to see an augmented product line, Kingsbury says. In addition to the staples like milk, eggs, cheese, fruit, seasonal produce and fresh-baked breads, there will be more Grocery-branded products prepared on-site. Customers will be able to purchase dips and salads like hummus, black bean dip, pasta salad, chicken salad and tuna salad by the pound. Snacks like dehydrated veggie chips and kale chips will be packaged for quick sale.
In addition to popular sandwiches and wraps like the Greek Wrap, Lentil Falafel and Cleveland Bagel Sandwich, there will be more soups and daily specials.
Kingsbury expects most changes to be implemented by March.