Specialty Food Magazine


Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 146 of 203

The Capitol Hill outlet comes in at about 1,600 square feet total, with 1,200 square feet devoted to f loor space. The Pioneer Square store, which opened its doors in August, is slightly larger, with 1,900 of its total 2,100 square feet devoted to selling space. Product Mix… Cone & Steiner carries corner-store mainstays like milk, eggs, and other grocery items. But the business gained a solid reputation for its curated selection of fresh and organic produce, specialty cheeses, seafood, charcuterie, baked goods, condiments, chocolate, ice cream, beer and wine, and prepared foods for takeaway or eating at the in-house counter. Favorites among the prepared food offerings include meat and veggie sandwiches, a three-cheese mac and cheese, beef chili, enchiladas, roasted corn chowder, and inven- tive sides like green beans with bacon. Among the local producers each store carries are Full Tilt ice cream, Melt mac and cheese, Boat Street pickles, and Pok Pok Som drinking vinegar. Of course, Cone & Steiner also features a selection of Seattle-area coffee, from Cone's own Fuel Coffee (the Pioneer Square store has a Fuel espresso bar) to local favorites Blue Star Coffee Roasting Co. and Hart Coffee Roasters. "One of my favorite things is to meet with the small producers all over the area and learn about their products and what they are doing," she says. Both stores also sell housewares and furnishings. One great idea that didn't pan out: a grind-your-own-f lour sta- tion. "We loved the idea of doing demos on this and having custom- ers try it out, but it left an enormous mess and really needed its own enclosed space," recalls Cone of the defunct feature. Local Sourcing and Affordability… Cone & Steiner makes a point of stocking locally made products from Seattle's small-batch producers as well as produce, dairy, eggs, meats, and seafood from regional suppliers. "Part of our mission is to bring new and unique foods made locally to the larger community, and we're always looking for new, exciting producers and items," says Cone. "Our beer and wine offerings are super popular; we stock and serve regional makers and fill growlers at the bar," Cone adds. Hot sellers among beers are Fremont Brewing's pale ale, IPA, and rotating seasonal varieties, and an IPA and scotch ale from Spinnaker Bay Brewing, Seattle's only women-owned brewery. A favorite in wines is Parejas Cellars' Wysling wines, whose French- style rosé Cone says "f lies off the shelf." And among cider, Anthem is a top seller and on tap at the Pioneer Square store. Specialty cheeses come from local Mt. Townsend Creamery, as well as Grafton Village, Cypress Grove Chevre, and Calabro. Fast- moving charcuterie leans West/Pacific Northwest, with products from the likes of Chop, Fra Mani, and La Quercia. Merchandise ranges from 5-cent candy to housewares going for more than $100. "We do have a bulk candy bar in old -timey glass jars, so you can really get something for a nickel," Cone says. "The most expensive item in the store may be a large ceramic turquoise bowl that is about $120." A Loyal Following… Neighborhood residents of all ages, includ- ing singles and families, appreciate the convenience of a local grocery that's open long hours and stocks high-quality staples and quirky products. The business employs about 18 staff, half fulltime, half part-time, and it has a strong social media presence, which Cone credits with helping attract new customers and maintain the all- important sense of community. "I've been blown away by how well-received we've been," she says. "Capitol Hill and Pioneer Square are separate neighborhoods with a different feel to each one, but in both areas, residents have been welcoming and gracious." While the two stores have plenty of overlap in product mix— more than they had anticipated, Cone notes—the Pioneer Square store sells more prepared foods for downtown lunch crowds, and a lack of alternatives in the area means groceries do well. The Capitol Hill store is in more of a neighborhood setting, translat- ing into good grocery sales as well as smaller, specialty purchases. "Folks come in for the specialty items, on the way to a dinner party, finding unique local, small-batch items, eggs on a Sunday morning, gifts, etcetera," she says. Future Plans… "Nothing is firm yet, but we hope to open other stores soon," says Cone. "I love what I'm doing, and there are so many great products to showcase and introduce to customers. I'm thrilled to be their neighborhood store and hope we can expand the concept to other areas." store snapshot Esther Crain is a freelance writer who covers health, food, and lifestyle. "We're really a throwback to a type of store that always had a presence in cities in older times." 144 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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