“People are really excited that we’re here,” Angie told me about three weeks after the store’s opening. “Business is starting to really pick up.”
Handmade deli sandwiches were the first items to start bringing curious customers through the door, along with hot Seven Hills coffee and Skirtz and Johnson pastries (“The best in town,” Angie says). Once those first shoppers came in, the staff started asking them what they’d like to see more of. Through those suggestions, Foodstuffs added more inventory. Thanks to requests, olives and dog treats were recently added and they’re starting to incorporate customer favorites from World Food Bar to their ready-to-eat selections.
For a pocket-sized shop, the selection is pretty surprising so far. They’ve got staple veggies — garlic, onions and potatoes — but I also spotted fresh zucchini and some nice green beans in the cooler.
There are loaves of Skirtz and Johnson bread, top-quality cold cuts from Usingers (including cappicola and salami) and a good selection of gourmet and everyday cheeses, along with tortellini salad, hummus and other World Food Bar goodies. With a quick stop here, you could put together hors d’oeuvres or a last-minute dinner party after work.
They stock grains in bulk, fresh slabs of meat and will even grind fresh peanut butter to order. That’s not your ordinary corner store.
Cianciolo’s produce stand has been nearby on Main for decades, but they close at the end of the workday. Foodstuffs stays open later and is open on weekends, too. They’re really aiming for downtown residential customers, sending out flyers to all the condos to spread the word.
Clearly this isn’t Kroger’s, but it will fill a gap that folks who live downtown have noticed since the neighborhood resurgence began. According to Angie, they “want to be the place that everybody comes to for their last-minute things.”
But some of their ideas sound bigger than that. They’ll deliver an order of at least $25 and are also planning a Findlay Market program where they’ll deliver from any of the merchants listed on their Web site (not just World Food Bar) on Wednesdays and Fridays with 24-hour notice. It sounds like a good way to make the market more of an everyday resource rather than a weekend destination. Anything to make downtown living easier.
Jenny Kessler is an Over-the-Rhine resident who works right around the corner from Foodstuffs. She told me that she’s been anticipating the store ever since Josh told her about it as a concept several months ago.
“I’m so happy with the results,” she says.
Whether she wants a sandwich for lunch or ingredients for dinner, Foodstuffs has what she needs, and she’s OK with the prices.
“I think the biggest difference between Foodstuffs and its competitors is the service,” she says. “Cianciolo’s, CVS and OTR Kroger’s, they all fill different roles. With Mayberry, the people who work there make me feel welcome, are extraordinarily helpful and friendly and do their best to make sure my experience is special. At CVS I’m just a rewards card number, but at Mayberry I’m a friend and a regular. There is a definite difference, and I think it will pay off for them.”
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