Specialty Food Magazine

Summer 2018

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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marble-topped tables. This is also Hruby's brainchild—a tea parlor that will serve small bites like Scandinavian baked goods, per the store website. (While the entire store has been open since winter 2018, the kitchen area, which originally served cheese from Saxelby and loaves of bread, is plan- ning to relaunch in late spring.) The store "is meant to be an escape," a salesperson explains. Indeed, spending time browsing the airy, rectangular-shaped space feels more like a therapeutic experi- ence rather than a standard shopping trip. Hesperios also produces an art and literary journal, copies of which share shelf space with the turtlenecks and pullovers. A curat- ed collection of other merchandise is also for sale, including ceramics, home goods, art, and vintage poetry books. In a marketplace where businesses tend to stick to selling one broad product—food, clothing, books—it can be hard to get used to the idea of blending all of these into one store. But hybrid retailers like Hesperios have something special to offer: a warmer vibe and a more comfortable experience than the typical shopping trip. Super Foodtown: A Washington Heights Grocer with an Elevated Ethnic Focus What was once a decaying 1920s-era movie theater is now the bright, gleaming Super Foodtown, a 25,000-square-foot emporium spread out on two airy levels. The store is earning raves from residents of Manhattan's Harlem and Washington Heights neighborhoods, who give the customer service and friendliness of the 40 or so employees a big thumbs up. Also earning praise is the incredible selection of more than 30,000 packaged products and several prepared food stations, such as in-house pizza and a sushi station. "We also have a bakery and coffee bar, a wings station, and a big section for premade salads too," says general manager Mohammad Nassriyeh. The cheese department features 60 percent imported products, and an olive bar, seafood counter, and meat counter offer fresh and organic options. (An estimated 60 percent of the store's inventory is organic food.) Food stations themed around different cuisines, such as Hispanic and Middle Eastern, change daily. The store is in the middle of a rapidly gentrifying area that is still predominately Hispanic, so Hispanic food is a big seller. "The Hispanic inf luence is here, but we mix it up," says Nassriyeh. With so many grab-and-go options, it's no surprise prepared foods are big sellers. Produce is also very popular, and Nassriyeh says the store plans to expand the produce aisles and also offer more vegan products, which have been surprisingly strong sellers. Super Foodtown does a lot of catering for local businesses, and Nassriyeh himself visits other local supermarkets to make sure Super Foodtown keeps its prices in line with the rest of the neighborhood. What distinguishes the store from other supermarkets nearby? "We're much larger, our service is upgraded, and everything we do is super," he says proudly. store tour Esther Crain is a New York City-based freelance writer. (continued from p. 54) Wegmans: Winning Over a New Jersey Town When residents of Bergen County, New Jersey found out that a Wegmans would be opening where a beloved family farm stood since the 1920s, not everyone was pleased. But since opening the 108,000-square-foot supermarket—the ninth in New Jersey and 94th store nationwide—Wegmans, also fami- ly-owned, has been winning fans. Located in Montvale about 30 miles from Manhattan in prime commuter coun- try, the store features a 250-square-foot mar- ket cafe serving freshly made sushi, pizza, subs, salads, and other quick meals in-house or for takeout. Hot food stations featuring Hispanic, Asian, and Italian prepared foods join a burger bar with counter and table seating, a bakery, and a bulk candy section. The store has an attached but separated beer, wine, and spirits shop as well. The huge seafood counter features sustainably sourced options, and an enormous meat department includes grass-fed beef, rows of rotisserie chickens, and everything in between. Wegmans also sells its signature EZ meals, which are premade or ready-to-cook entrees for one, two, or family-size including grain and pasta bowls. The wide, easy-to-navigate pro- duce aisles carry about 700 fruit and vegetable varieties, and the cheese department is packed with domestic and imported varieties. Store shelves carry 65,000 other more traditional super- market products like packaged foods, frozen foods, and health and beauty items. Wegmans has something of a cult following, and the approximately 500 employees seem to have made it their mission to add customers in this New York City suburb to their fan base. Pulling that off is an achievement, considering that shoppers have other specialty options with huge followings nearby, like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. PHOTO: ESTHER CRAIN PHOTO: WEGMANS 136 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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