A finely stocked grocery store is one of life's great joys. Row upon row of curated commerce; around each corner a friendly butcher, green grocer, or fish monger ready to help with one's cherished comestibles and stockables. A great grocery store is a feast for the senses, engaging all five in an orchestra of browsing, window shopping, perusing, and closer inspection.
But what if your favorite grocery store—the one with an in-house butcher and dope produce—also had a killer coffee bar? Harvest Grocery & Supply of Richmond, Virginia thinks that sounds like a great idea, and we agree.
As told to Sprudge by Hunter Hopcroft.
For those who aren't familiar, will you tell us about your company?
We opened in January of 2014 as a small, locally focused neighborhood market. Our plan was to be the modern iteration of stores that lined Main Streets all over the country in the early 1900s. For us, that meant working with as many small producers as possible, but also stocking the basics for a great home-cooked meal. We are designed focused, however, and wanted to have a space that inspired people to cook and entertain.
We were really putting a lot of time in to curating a great coffee selection featuring roasters like Parlor Coffee, Stumptown, and Ritual, in addition to stocking coffee from local Richmond roasters like Lamplighter and Blanchards. Without espresso service though, we were unable to feature these great coffees as effectively as we would have liked.
After some research, we decided to add espresso service via a La Marzocco GS3 supported by a Mahlkönig K30 Air grinder. Batch brew is handled by a FETCO and we use Kalita Waves for pour-overs. All just 8 feet away from an whole animal butchery and full-service neighborhood market.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
We have about 1,200 square feet of retail space, 300 square feet of production space for our butchers and for food prep. We have tried to miniaturize the supermarket as much as possible. We have a diverse produce section, local and organic dairy products, specialty cheeses, beer, wine, and fresh meats. The coffee bar sits between our register and butcher counter.
What's your approach to coffee?
Like so much of the store, we believe the final products depends most greatly on the quality of inputs. That's our approach to produce, meat, wine, and especially coffee. We look for roasters who source from quality growers and then roast the coffee to be the best expression of that region. The idea being that by the time it lands in the consumers hands it can made with minimal expertise into something enjoyable and delicious.
We decided to add espresso service less to be a major revenue driver and more as a way to showcase the coffees we hoped people would buy, brew, and enjoy themselves at home.
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
Batch Brew: Fetco
Espresso: La Marzocco GS/3
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Air
Pour-overs: Kalita Wave
Coffee: We rotate roasters regularly. In additional to stocking local roasters Lamplighter and Blanchards, we also work with Stumptown and Parlor.
What's your hopeful target opening date/month?
We are currently open and offering a basic coffee menu. As coffee service becomes more popular, we hope to expand the coffee menu into more progressive and elaborate drinks.
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you'd like to mention?
Parker at Bearski Haus did the photography I am submitting for this story.