New grocery opens with a focus on organic, natural and local products
Published: Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Updated: Monday, August 22, 2011 12:08
Carolina Farmin', a 17,000-square-foot, locally owned grocery store, is opening its doors and inviting the community to join during a five-day grand opening celebration Aug. 4-7. Carolina Farmin', located at 2101 Market Street, is the largest carrier of organic and natural foods in the area and has a strong focus on local foods.
Without a blueprint to follow, getting Carolina Farmin' ready for business has not been a cookie-cutter process, as it is for most chain grocery stores. Owner Wayne Long and his team started from scratch. Even the countertops and shelves are handcrafted. The store now employs more than 90 people, a slim number compared to the 1,300 applications they received.
"We have literally been building this from the ground up, whether its product, people or the building," said Angela Koch, Community Development Manager for Carolina Farmin'. "It's been a ton of work. A lot of heart and soul has been put into this thing for a long time."
The grand opening kicks off with a business networking breakfast on Thursday, Aug. 4 from 8-10 a.m. Chairman of the New Hanover County Commissioners Jonathan Barfield, Mayor Bill Saffo and a representative from Congressman Mike McIntyre's office will all be in attendance, and the breakfast is open to the public.
At 10 a.m., the official ribbon cutting ceremony commences, though there will be no scissors involved. The team at Carolina Farmin' is going about the official opening in a unique way—in their own style—though what exactly they will do is a mystery.
Carolina Farmin' will feature a giant birthday cake at 11 a.m. followed by a chocolate-chip cookie bakeoff in honor of National Chocolate Chip Day. The winner of the bakeoff wins a $150 gift certificate to the store, gets to name his or her cookie, and Carolina Farmin' will feature the winning cookie in the bakery.
Friday, Aug. 5 is "Hey" Day, during which customers will be able to meet the people behind the scenes—the staff and even the local farmers who supply the store. "Appie" Hour is from 5-7 p.m., during which customers have a chance to taste some of the hired chefs' crowd-pleasing appetizers. On Saturday the store will feature activities for kids, sampling and live music.
On Ice Cream Sunday, the first 50 people in the door will receive a free scoop of gelato, and ice cream and gelato is half off all day. Monday, to ease the pain of the start of the work week, Carolina Farmin' is offering half-priced muffins and $1 coffee from 7 a.m. to noon.
Involving the community is important to the folks at Carolina Farmin', who are committed to educating shoppers when it comes to the little things like deciding whether a certain fruit is ripe, or the larger things like knowing where that fruit comes from and how it reaches the shelves.
"We have a strong focus on a well-trained, passionate staff," said Koch. "We are in the hospitality industry, ultimately."