Thursday, September 21, 2023

Downtown Norfolk has finally found a grocer, and it’ll be selling all local produce

(Southside Daily file photo/Courtesy of Pixabay)
(Southside Daily file photo/Courtesy of Pixabay)

NORFOLK — The Chesapeake Bay Market will be opening its doors to the public here soon, putting an end to the food desert that plagued the downtown area.

With a projected opening date of September, the Chesapeake Bay Market will have not only the usual canned goods and products of a grocery store but will also offer produce exclusively from the Eastern Shore, said Jay Bagwell, the market’s consultant with the Phoenix Group Consulting Firm.

Chesapeake Bay Market investors have bought a distribution center on the Eastern Shore and are looking into a hot house for growing in order to keep all of the produce local, he said.

The space will be divided into two sections — a grocery store and a prepared food section.

“This is an upscale boutique market, but the prices will be comparable to those of Kroger, Farm Fresh and other local grocery stores,” Bagwell said.

The prepared food section plans to serve three meals a day with a rotating menu as well as offer grab-and-go options for customers.

There will also free valet parking along with delivery and in-store pick-up.

To reduce overhead, one of the store’s initiatives will be BYOB or Bring Your Own Bag, Bagwell said.

The market will sit on 300 East Main Street and consist of only one floor, taking up 7,000 square feet of space.

Before the market took over the space, 300 East Main St. was once a law firm and an Icon Rental office, Bagwell said.

He said the company expects the buildout to start in a few days and the overall construction footprint to remain relatively small.

Additionally, the market is looking to hire around 20 people.

“Our goal is to hire from Norfolk, particularly those who are historically underemployed,” he said.

Another connection to the community the market will foster is its culinary internship program the company plans to start with Tidewater Community College.

Those interested in applying to work for the Chesapeake Bay Market should click here.

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