Lemon Street Market Serves Local Integrity
Oct 30, 2013 08:30AM
● By Nancy Somera
Celebrating two years in business, Trish Haverstick, co-owner of the Lemon Street Market, reflects upon why she and her business partners embarked on this journey together. “We were all involved in either the food business or some sort of purchasing and thought that our community was missing a smaller-sized, fully stocked grocery store that focused on providing locally and regionally produced, chemical-free food and sustainable products,” she recalls.
Armed with plenty of ideas, strong initiative and a solid vision, the owners have exceeded their expectations, creating a healthy grocer and cafe pleasantly filled with natural light, where locals come for easy shopping and friendly service. Smaller than the average supermarket, shoppers can easily find everything they need. “People like to shop here because we’re centrally located and have convenient off-street parking and a friendly, knowledgeable staff,” says Haverstick.
The store carries only two or three brands of each product, locally and regionally produced if available, and Haverstick notes that buying decisions are made by considering other variables, like whether packaging is BPA-free, if a product is fair trade or if the ingredients are GMO-free. “We always try to pick the best product there is and do the research on each product,” explains Haverstick. She likens it to a judge’s pick, where experts share their opinion with the public. “We look for the healthiest, highest quality and best-tasting products that have cleaner ingredients and fewer preservatives. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient on the label, it’s probably not good for you,” she reasons.
Haverstick is aware that some people are concerned about higher prices with natural and consciously produced goods, but she suggests looking at the full equation. “Food is always the first step to prevent illness, and it is so important to general well-being,” she says, adding Hippocrates words, “Let food be thy medicine.” The owners and buyers conscientiously consider retail pricing; whether that involves decisions about what products to carry or how to keep the markup as low as possible, customers can trust that the shelves are stocked with the freshest and healthiest food, body care and household products at fair prices.
Summertime concerts in the parking lot, cooking demonstrations and workshops are just a few ways the owners unite and educate the community around living a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. They are currently in the process of adding signage throughout the store to let shoppers know more about where products originate. “We strive to be transparent to our customers. There is no greenwashing going on here,” says Haverstick, referring to the act of exaggerating the true environmental or healthy qualities of products.
The staff gives direct answers to questions about the origin of products and is willing to discuss the limitations of different products, as well. In addition, the cafe and store use sustainable products, including recycled paper labels for bulk goods, recycled paper envelopes, BPA-free cash register paper, all biodegradable foodware in the cafe, LED and CFL lighting and Energy Star appliances. They even compost the coffee and other food remnants from the cafe.
Healthy to-go sandwiches, fresh salads and seasonal soup daily specials are served at the cafe. Breakfast options are available, and a growing prepared foods section makes it easy to grab a nutritious meal for lunch at work or home. A large variety of products stock the gluten-free section, an area is personally important to Haverstick because she lives with celiac disease. “I’ve been eating gluten-free for over 10 years, which has given me plenty of time to try different products and weed out some of the worst,” she chuckles. “We have a great selection of gluten-free flours, all-purpose mixes and all of the individual flours to make your own mix, and most of our condiments are also gluten-free, since I prioritize that option whenever it’s available to fill our limited shelf space.”
Opening a second location is an option the owners may consider in the future. “In terms of space, we’re close to being maxed out,” Haverstick concedes. “There is a growing appeal for local, healthy, sustainable food and products, and people want to get it from a market where the staff is personable and available for questions.” While a second location wouldn’t be on its namesake street, she believes that the Lemon Street Market name has come to be associated with the store’s high-quality service and product mix, rather than its location. “We are so thankful for all of our customers, and are delighted by the warm reception from the community. People ask us all the time to open a store closer to their home.”
Location: 241 W. Lemon St., Lancaster. For store hours, events and a list of products, visit LemonStreetMarket.com.
Nancy Somera is managing editor of Natural Awakenings in Boston.