Neighborhood grocers, redux

George Bowers Grocery, Staunton, VA

George Bowers Grocery, Staunton, VA

Staunton (that’s “Stan-ton,” not “Stawn-ton”) Virginia takes pride in its blend of reverence for the old, with modern twists. Like the trolley car buses that minimize downtown traffic, while allowing easy access to landmarks and shops.

Not far from Downtown , New Town Staunton is also experiencing a renaissance. As old mansions and homes are being restored, so are some of the storefronts that served their original owners.

One of these is the George Bowers Grocery, originally founded in 1881. It’s been reclaimed to service by a young duo- Brian Wiedemann and Katie McCaskey- who stock the shelves with a variety of wines/beers, including many from Virginia and locally produced foodstuffs. They also grow some of  the produce they sell, in a rented city lot a few blocks away at Lush Farms.

Katie says that while they aren’t a one-stop shopping experience, the neighborhood has been very supportive of their efforts. And why not, when each item is carefully selected by the owners, who cultivate relationships with both their suppliers and patrons, and serve as a knowledgeable link between them.

In Downtown Staunton, there is another neighborhood grocery, with a slightly different slant. Cranberry’s is a natural foods grocery and deli (with juice bar, and gluten-free choices.) Like George Bowers, the accent is on local, and healthy.

While neighborhood groceries may not supplant the supermarket chains, the idea of a local grocery as a link, more accessible than a once or twice a week farmers market, and a gathering place for the neighborhood, may be an idea whose time has come- again.

One Response to “Neighborhood grocers, redux”

  1. Katie says:

    Thank you for visiting our grocery store and featuring it on your blog! Our grocery is approaching it’s one year anniversary and so we’re excited about that. Cranberries is a favorite of ours, too.

    Sara, we enjoyed meeting you and hope you had a great time here in Staunton, indeed, a great “artsy little town”…!