TO OPEN IN EAST END, HART’S LOCAL GROCERS IS AN INDEPENDENT RETAILER OFFERING A SENSORY EXPERIENCE WITH FAVORITE NATIONAL BRANDS ALONGSIDE FRESH LOCAL PRODUCTS
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — At long last, full-service grocery shopping is planned to return to downtown Rochester this spring. Hart’s Local Grocers, an independent food retailer, is expected to open in May, featuring a touch of the past with an eye on the future and a focus on customer service and local products. The store is planned to be in the heart of the East End occupying 20,000-square-feet of the two-story brick building at 10 Winthrop St., located between the Little Theatre and Restaurant 2Vine. Hart’s will be the first grocery store to open downtown since the last one left Midtown Plaza more than a decade ago.
“This new grocery store will be a wonderful addition for the city of Rochester and for downtown,” said Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren. “Our East End is vibrant and this development will add to the vitality of the neighborhood. I am proud that our residents will now have more convenient access to groceries and greater job opportunities as a result. I applaud and thank the efforts of the people who have worked so hard to bring a grocery store back to downtown and I wish them the very best of success.”
Hart’s mission is to build community, delight the senses, and connect Rochesterians to the region’s greatest foods. This traditional neighborhood market will offer city residents local and fresh meat, dairy, produce, and baked goods alongside national brands, while raising the retail standard of excellence through a socially and environmentally responsible food system.
The story behind this store around the corner
The vision for Hart’s Local Grocers is that of Glenn Kellogg, an urban economic planner from Washington, D.C. who landed in Rochester in 2011 with his wife, who actually grew up in the Browncroft neighborhood. He had been researching cities across the country looking for one that offered the right mix of livability and opportunity. He found Rochester had all the ingredients with rich culture as the icing, and he readily realized the city’s need for a downtown grocery store.
“Residents not being able to buy groceries downtown leaves a big hole in their ability to live an urban lifestyle,” Kellogg said. “Downtown is a Food Desert, but it doesn’t need to be. There is a need and support for quality services located in walkable environments and we plan to meet the market demand and enable the lifestyle that residents are seeking.”
Through his company Rochester Local Capital he drafted a business plan in 2012 and gathered a team of industry and startup veterans from around the region and the country. They set out to launch a new city market that would offer a perfect combination of local food and regional cuisine and daily grocery needs. The team studied demographics, looking closely at city neighborhoods, identifying the best opportunities and locations, and finding out what residents were hungry for.
In their research, the team discovered a once-loved Rochester neighborhood market called Hart’s — a name not seen here since the 1940s. The name offered a fitting tribute to local history and a way to connect bygone charm with forward-looking optimism. Hart’s was owned by progressive businessman and philanthropist Alfred Hart, and the present-day store will reflect the feel of a 1940s-era full-service yet intimate food retailer.
“The lack of convenient access to groceries was a deterrent to attracting more people to live in the downtown area,” said City Commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Development Dr. Delmonize Smith. “The introduction of Hart’s Local Grocers will make the downtown area a more viable place to live, while also creating jobs.”
What makes Hart’s different
Hart’s leadership team intends for the store to be a one-stop shop, offering literally all from soup to nuts. They also stress the store’s focus on customer service from a trained, knowledgeable staff. A full-time culinary director will allow Hart’s to also offer prepared foods throughout the day, including lunch and dinner. He and his staff will be on hand to share with shoppers advice regarding recipes and ingredient suggestions.
More than 30 employees will be hired this winter and spring, reaching more than 50 by 2015. Inquiries regarding positions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The staff will know the store’s products intimately, as well as the farmers who supplied the eggs and milk and meat and produce, according to Dean Sparks, Hart’s general manager and a longtime grocery consultant and organic farmer.
It is estimated area grocery stores locally source between 2 and 4 percent of products, whereas Hart’s will be well into double digits. Each department head will be charged with continually searching for local and regional options for products sold at Hart’s.
“Our goal is for more than 20 percent of the store to be locally sourced, which means your meat is going to be from a much closer zip code than other grocery stores in the Rochester area,” Sparks said. “We intend to be an incubator for small agriculture and we’ll even work to help advance local businesses out of commercial kitchens to national distribution.”
Hart’s also will be seeking out natural and organic products and focus on sustainability. The management plans to apply for B Corp certification, which is awarded for high performance in socially responsible and environmental consciousness.
About the Winthrop Street location
The two-story brick building at 10 Winthrop St. was constructed in 1930. It served for decades as the repair and body shop for Hallman’s Chevrolet, which was located a half-block away at 200 East Ave. For decades Hallman’s was one of the largest Chevy car dealerships in the country. Coincidentally, the owner, Maynard W. Hallman, began his business career working for his father, a grocer, and as a teenager delivered groceries using a pushcart.
Hallman’s operated its dealership and the repair shop until the early 1990s. Burch Craig, owner of Craig Autometrics since 1980, bought the building and surrounding parking lot acreage in 1994. He repaved the lots and made a large investment in fixing up the building. Craig announced his retirement in fall 2013 and then closed his business while making arrangements to sell the building to Rochester Local Capital.
“I’m happy that I’m leaving the area better than it was when I started,” Craig said. “And it’s a progression, because a grocery store is what the East End now needs, as it has become very residential.
“What makes a neighborhood is the businesses in it,” he noted. “And I don’t think you will find a single block in the city with the variety this one has, from Arena’s and the Little Theatre to Orange Glory Cafe, Animatus Studios, and 2Vine, and now Hart’s Local Grocers.”
Hart’s is prepared to serve many city neighborhoods, including the Center City, Park and East Avenue neighborhoods, the Neighborhood of the Arts, and the South Wedge, in addition to shoppers who work in the city.
Parking for Hart’s Local Grocers includes 130 onsite parking-lot spaces. The store’s building is adjoined with the Little Theatre and the Little Café actually is located within the footprint of 10 Winthrop St. Hart’s management has met with Little Theatre officials and plans for collaborations between the two businesses are being discussed. The Little Café will remain open.
HART’S LOCAL GROCERS LEADERSHIP TEAM BIOS:
Glenn Kellogg, Manager, Rochester Local Capital
Glenn Kellogg continues his extensive experience in financial and urban planning services as he and his team launch Hart’s Local Grocers. He has worked in neighborhoods of large cities as well as small towns and, through an understanding of the local economy, has assisted communities with feasible, market-based strategies to achieve their vision. After graduating from the University of Virginia, Kellogg was a Lewis Mumford Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania where he studied real estate at The Wharton School and earned a Master of City Planning degree from the Graduate School of Fine Arts (Penn Design). He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Landmark Society of Western New York and has served as an advisory services panelist for the Urban Land Institute; a juror for the Coalition for Smarter Growth; a member of the Sustainable Design Assessment Team for the American Institute of Architects; and was a 2005 Knight Fellow in Community Building through the University of Miami. Kellogg is a principal with Urban Advisors, which is based in Portland, Ore., and also serves on the advisory board of Reconnect Rochester. He and his wife, Jenny, reside in the city of Rochester.
Andrew Katz, Communications Director, Hart’s Local Grocers
Andrew Katz is an entrepreneur who has helped start two companies, in addition to Hart’s Local Grocers. In 2012 he served as the director of portal development for Austin-based web marketing firm BizAmp, for which he consolidated multiple digital offerings into one sales platform, working with four companies and several domestic and overseas developers. For five years Katz was senior director of business developmentfor OrgSync in the Austin and Dallas/Fort Worth areas of Texas, which helps universities manage communications and operations in one online community. He helped grow a team of five to a team of 40, servicing nearly 300 campuses around the world. Katz has now found his new career passion with Hart’s. “I prefer to move through my days with a love for what I do, who I do it with, and always with a smile.” He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder. He and his fiancé, Chelsea, reside in the city of Rochester.
Dean Sparks, General Manager, Hart’s Local Grocers
Dean Sparks worked as a New York State-based organic farmer for 15 years. During that time he founded Nyfoods Organics LLC, to share the milk and eggs and butter from small farms with consumers. Sparks is regarded as a visionary and thought leader on the benefits of organics, about which he has actively educated the agricultural community. He was the primary local dairy provided for Eataly in New York City and ran the grocery department at GreenStar Co-op. in Ithaca for three years and for several years has served as a consultant for retail grocery, including heightening the sensory experience for shoppers. Sparks possesses a true 360-degre view from farm to store to table, having been an organic farmer, distributor, wholesaler, brand owner, and consumer. He works to create a sustainable, healthy food system for all and believes that reconnecting consumers with their food supply in a thoughtful way is only possible when exceptional product is offered. Sparks resides in downtown Rochester. He studied criminal justice and law at Arizona State University and is a U.S. Army veteran.
Andrew Lederman, Culinary Director, Hart’s Local Grocers
Andrew Lederman brings 30 years experience to his position as culinary director. He earned his degree in culinary arts from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. and has worked top kitchens from the four-diamond Keystone Ranch resort in Colorado to Richardson’s Canal House in Pittsford. For five years he was the head chef of the cruise line company Lindblad Expeditions, which sailed to Mexico in the winters and to Alaska in the summers. Through that experience he learned to place high value on local produce and seafood and meat, working directly with local farmers and fishermen at various ports — and at the same time also learning about quality control and sustainable and organic products. Lederman also has been a restaurant owner, of the popular Bodhi’s Café at Village Gate in Rochester. He and his wife, Sara, reside in Brighton and have two young children.
High-res images of the logo, leadership team, and exterior of the building are online at http://bit.ly/hartsmedia