The Jackson Sun: Grubb's Grocery Will Open Open Natural Foods Store in Spring

The concept, timing and location are naturals, and with an eye of opening in the spring, Chris Felder is bringing Grubb’s Grocery to the Shops at Jackson Walk. The products Felder will carry in this supermarket will rival brand names shoppers are accustomed to — with one major exception — he said.

“We’ll carry every major and minor grocery category, including general dry grocery; dairy and perishables and cheeses; fresh meat and seafood; frozen foods; bulk herbs, bulk foods, bulk coffee and bulk water; nutritional vitamins and supplements.”

There are also health and beauty products; household and general merchandise; fresh, local and organic produce; and natural pet foods and pet products. “Grubb’s Grocery will also house a full-­service deli with made­-to­-order sandwiches and panini, ‘grab-­n­-go’ prepared food items, as well as a soup and salad bar featuring a selection of fresh soups on rotation daily,” Felder said. “A fresh juice and smoothie bar will round out our prepared foods and beverages. Last, we’ll feature ‘Grubb’s Growlers and Brews,; which is our version of a ‘beer cave’ and growler filling station. Of course, when law ermit, we’ll introduce a full selection of popular, organic, and sulfite-free wines.”

“There’s no need to read labels,” Felder said. “We’ll carry no artificial ingredients: no artificial flavors, colors, fillers, thickeners, sweeteners, or preservatives. Our commitment will be local, regional, and organic when available and competitively priced, and we’ll carry only humanely raised and processed, hormone-free, natural beef and poultry as well as fresh fish and seafood.”

“Anyone who’s shopped in a natural foods store will recognize our products and our brands,” Felder said. “I don’t call our store a ‘health foods’ store. We will carry many products I wouldn’t label as ‘healthy.’”

"We'll include artisan chocolates and other candies; corn, potato and other chips; and natural sodas."

“So if a customer thinks she doesn’t like healthy or natural foods, I hope she’ll give us a try,” Felder said. “We will truly have something for everyone.”

Felder said he has budgeted for 12 full-­time and part-­time employees for the first year in business, adding to the roster “as business needs dictates.”

“A significant segment of the population is underserved in natural and organic foods in Madison and the surrounding counties, by the current retail grocery offerings,” Felder said. “That’s where my vision and concept came."

Felder, who will become a resident of Jackson, said the next phase came when Hal Crocker, who co-­developed Healthy Community LLC, and Chris Alexander, the head of retail and residential development, contacted him about the possibility of opening a natural foods store at Jackson Walk.

“We’re absolutely thrilled Chris is bringing Grubb’s Grocery to Jackson,” Alexander said. “Since I’ve started leasing the Shops of Jackson Walk, the number one comment has been, ‘We need a grocery store.’” Alexander said he believes a neighborhood grocery store is vital to any community. “And I feel Grubb’s is the best option for our market,” Alexander said. “Chris (Felder) brings with him over 15 years of experience in mid­town and downtown Nashville that will help add to the success of this grocery store. He has a vibe and energy prefect for Jackson Walk.”

Felder said although the time felt right, he requested a feasibility study from a national marketing research firm which specializes in the natural foods retail industry. “Business requires more than just the right feeling I had. I wanted to get objective, educated and well ­researched data as to the potential success of a Natural Foods store at Jackson Walk ... from someone who (knew) nothing about Jackson,” Felder said. “That study came back favorable and after that, we began serious discussions that have brought us to where we are now, with our new store opening in spring.”

Felder said the choice and the location were clear. “The typical resident there, and those visiting the LIFT Wellness Center are exactly our customer demo,” Felder said. “The development has an energy and vibrancy that I wanted to be a part of that has a similar feel to the neighborhood that houses our original Turnip Truck store. As an added bonus, the Farmers Market is right next door. Last, I’m a fan of downtowns — all downtowns. So personally, I liked the idea of having the store located there.”

Grade work on an out parcel of land for a parking lot has begun at the corner of North Highland Avenue and College Street. The store’s main entrance will face south on the North Highland Avenue side, but a customer can also enter on the north side of the retail center.

“It just fits our concept well,” Crocker said. “We’re a healthy community, which includes the LIFT (Wellness Center), the (Jackson Walk) apartments, our retail center and the neighborhood, but it’s more than a neighborhood grocery. We wanted a place people could walk to.”

Crocker believes Grubb’s Grocery will also have regional appeal. “It will be friendly and unique. It’s going to offer something we don't have here," he stated.

The Jackson Sun