Five specialty food retailers from across the U.S. have been named Outstanding Retailers of 2013 by the Specialty Food Association. The awards honor outstanding customer service, product sourcing, merchandising, and a commitment to serving the local community.
The award-winning retailers are feast!, Charlottesville, Va.; Lazy Acres Market, Santa Barbara, Calif.; Oliver’s Market, Cotati, Calif.; Shady Maple Farm Market, Lancaster, Pa.; and Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop, Thomasville, Ga.
The winners include a three-unit retailer with a passion for teamwork and a single-unit cheese shop featuring local cheeses and artisanal products with sustainably grown ingredients. They were selected by a panel of leading specialty food professionals including manufacturers, distributors, previous honorees and editors of Specialty Food Magazine.
“These retailers share a passion that goes beyond presenting good food,” says Ann Daw, president of the Specialty Food Association. “They are educators, caring neighbors, and champions of food makers who are creating the best in specialty food.”
The awards will be presented on July 1, 2013, at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City at a gala awards ceremony hosted by internationally acclaimed Chef Marcus Samuelsson. The winners are featured in the May/June issue of Specialty Food Magazine. Learn more about each winner at specialtyfood.com.
Nominations for the Outstanding Retailers of 2013 were made by members of the Specialty Food Association. Retailers with the most nominations were asked to present detailed information about their companies, including menus, newsletters, training manuals, customer comments, promotional materials, press coverage and photographs to the judging panel for review.
Honorable mentions went to ten retailers. They are BKLYN Larder, Brooklyn, N.Y.; By Brooklyn, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Cheese Plus, San Francisco; Formaggio Kitchen, Cambridge, Mass.; Garden Fresh Market, Mundelein, Ill.; Metropolitan Bakery, Philadelphia; Napa Farms Market, San Francisco; Newton Farms, Johns Island, S.C.; Provenance Food and Wine, Chicago and Southport Grocery, Chicago.
About the winners:
Kate Collier and Eric Gertner have transformed a space in an abandoned building in Charlottesville, Va., into a specialty food store and café that is a showcase for local products that highlight the state’s flourishing food scene. In 2009, the couple started Local Food Hub, a non-profit focused on local food distribution from area farmers.
Lazy Acres Market
This retailer of natural and specialty foods in Santa Barbara, Calif., has set trends and high standards for product and ingredient selection since it opened in 1991. Now with two locations and owned by Bristol Farms, it is known for its house-made organic breads, vast selection of organic produce, and family atmosphere.
Oliver’s, with three locations in Sonoma Country, Calif., pioneered the crossover between conventional and natural supermarkets and provides one-stop shopping. Founded in 1988, the company has a major focus on local produce from some 300 farms, ranches and manufacturers and an extensive cheese and wine selection presented by experts.
Shady Maple Farm Market
With roots as a roadside stand in Lancaster, Pa., this exceptional local supermarket has become a destination for locals and tourists. The store features an in-house smokehouse which turns out 100 meats, cheeses and fish items each week, a soup and salad department, and on-site bakery. Its Smorgasbord restaurant is a major draw.
Sweet Grass Dairy Cheese Shop
Cheeses from Sweet Grass Dairy, imported meats and beverages, inventive prepared foods, local products, and its partnership with The Georgia Conservancy to protect natural resources are all points of distinction for this retailer. The family-owned and operated business opened in 2009.
About the Specialty Food Association
The Specialty Food Association celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2012. It is a not-for-profit trade association for food artisans, importers and entrepreneurs established in 1952 in New York City to foster commerce and interest in the specialty food industry. Today there are more than 3,000 members in the U.S. and abroad. The Specialty Food Association operates the Summer and Winter Fancy Food Shows and presents the sofi™ Awards honoring excellence in specialty food. For more information on the association, go to specialtyfood.com.