From Farm to Market
South-side strip mall filling up
by Shelley Daily
Family Farm & Home opened August 1 in Pamida's former space in the Chelsea Shopping Center. The New Chelsea Market recently relocated to the same strip mall, filling in a couple of key vacancies on Chelsea's south side.
The smell of fresh rubber tires on riding mowers and the sounds of country music greet customers at Family Farm & Home. It's the Michigan company's twenty-third location and store manager Bryan Solowczuk says he'll work to tailor the inventory to meet Chelsea's needs.
"Our main customer is the farmer, but because we're in a younger, more urban community here in Chelsea, we're also paying attention to what the younger generation needs," says Solowczuk, who grew up on an area dairy farm. For instance, they'll soon offer the popular Under Armour line of sports clothing along with the Carhartt, Berne, and Columbia lines.
A few doors down from FF&H, husband-and-wife team Kevin Riley and Francisca Fernandez were running the New Chelsea Market from a temporary location in August while a bigger space next door was renovated. Riley and Fernandez had a downtown Main Street location for five years until that space was leased for the new Smokehouse 52 BBQ (item at right). "We looked for a new spot downtown, but the parking was a big issue. And here we'll have two-and-a-half times more space," Riley says.
A few days after reopening, Riley was ringing up Zingerman's bread, bags of Mighty Good coffee, gourmet tortilla chips, and cheese. They also carry Frog Holler produce, fresh meats and seafood, and dry goods--and will expand their offerings to include some kitchenware and semi-prepared food when the larger location opens at the end of October. "When we're up and running we'll have close to 800 Michigan products," Riley says, including a large selection of wine and beer. "We'll be able to do more food tastings and we'll have food prep classes, which we've always wanted to offer," Riley adds. "We want to show people simple
ways to cook good food."Family Farm & Home, 1040 S. Main St. (Chelsea Shopping Center), 562-2490, Mon.-Sat. 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. www.familyfarmandhome.comThe New Chelsea Market (temporary location), 1060 S. Main St. (Chelsea Shopping Center), 719-4700, Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. www.newchelseamarket.com
Phil and Jennifer Tolliver are opening Smokehouse 52 BBQ in the market's former space on Main St. The Tollivers are the former owners of True North Jerky Co. and the Bearclaw Coffee Company franchise in Oak Tree Plaza on Old US-12, both of which they recently sold to focus on the new venture. "It's going to be big-time, small-town barbecue," says Phil, who aims to open in November. Phil trained with Mike "The Legend" Mills in Illinois, a seven-time world champion of barbecue. "I knew that if I'm going to be the best in Michigan, I need to train with the best."
His idea for the restaurant evolved from his love of smoked meats and the couple's former jerky business. "Barbecue is right up there with politics and religion--everyone has their own idea about it," he says. His goal is to offer "the best from everywhere," including four or five unique sauces from different regions and beef, pork, turkey, and chicken barbecue.Smokehouse 52 BBQ (opening in November), 125 S. Main St.
At the end of June, Trinh Pifer sold the Garden Mill on Main St. to Manchester resident Jennifer Fairfield. Fairfield says she's been a gardener and birder for most of her life and that after twenty-five years in human resources, she was "very ready to do something that had meaning to me." She says she chose Chelsea because it "is such a vibrant community and the downtown merchants are so active--it's a great place for a business."
The store offers both practical and whimsical supplies for garden and nature enthusiasts--from tools and pots to sculptures and birdhouses. Fairfield plans to keep Pifer's inventory
and expand the birding supplies, as well as focus even more on children's gardening. "Getting kids into the garden is a real passion of mine," she says. "When kids grow the broccoli they're more likely to eat it!"The Garden Mill, 110 S. Main St., 475-3539, Tues.-Wed. 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Thurs.-Sat. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun. Noon-6 p.m. www.thegardenmill.com
At the end of July, the Mission Marketplace on Middle Street reopened as Global Marketplace. "We're working with the same artisan groups and still selling 100 percent fair trade," explains Kevin Frahm, who now owns the store with his wife, Denise. Kevin says he wanted to continue running the store after the non-profit Mission Marketplace board decided to focus on education and advocacy and remove itself from the retail side of the business.
He's expanding online sales of the store's products--which are made by economically impoverished people from developing nations--and plans to introduce fair trade house parties ("like Tupperware parties but with fair trade merchandise") and fund-raising programs that let groups sell fair-trade products to raise money for their cause. He also plans a line of private label chocolate bars and coffee.Global Marketplace, 115 W. Middle St., 475-7604, Sun. Noon-5 p.m., Mon.-Wed. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Thurs.-Sat. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. www.globalmarketplacechelsea.com
[Originally published in October, 2012.]