Specialty Food Magazine

MAR 2012

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 30 of 63

PROFILE be divided to be half grocery, half café. Attributing much of the new market's inspi- ration to Baum-Stein and Daigle's store, and recognizing an unofficial partner- ship (the markets are considered "sister" stores), Valery decided to give it the same name, Milk & Honey Market, and its doors opened in November 2010. Prior to the store's opening, Valery hired a general man- ager, Ethan Cook, whose background as cheese manager at various markets would help as Valery—who had plenty of passion but nominal food industry experience— found her sea legs in retail. The Café Boon Though the location somewhat fell into their laps, the Valerys did study up on the demo- graphics and retailers of Mt. Vernon before opening Milk & Honey. "From the beginning our concept was different," Valery says, add- ing that the market-café combo isn't as typical in Baltimore as in other major cities. The café offers seating and serves cof- fee and other beverages as well as prepared foods, including sandwiches, soups and pas- tries, to Mt. Vernon's diverse mix of residen- tial homes, offices and schools. Valery notes that homeowners are attracted to Milk & Honey for gourmet groceries, while office workers—many of them out-of-town com- muters—stop in to pick up their morning coffee or lunch and occasional groceries. Students come for fuel, often settling in on the café side with laptops in tow. The café turned out to be a bigger boon for business than expected. "We were think- ing it was going to be a 50-50 split," Valery says of café-to-grocery sales. Instead, she reveals, the scales are skewed with 75 percent on the prepared-food and coffee side. Valery comes up with most of the recipes featured on the daily breakfast and lunch menu, with some inspiration from the Philly store and general manager Cook. Offerings include bagels, baked goods and granola for the morning customers; lunch consists of a selection of standard and sea- 28 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE ❘ specialtyfood.com

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