ST. LOUIS — Residents here will soon be able to take a load off and let someone else do their grocery shopping.
Fields Foods, a supermarket opening early next year in St. Louis’ Lafayette Square neighborhood, will have a wine and craft beer area operated by the local business 33 Wine Shop & Tasting Bar.
“And kind of a neat aspect of that is if you come in to shop and you hand us your grocery list — as long as you have a glass of wine or a beer — you can sit there and enjoy that in the seating area that we have while we do the shopping,” said Chris Goodson, cofounder.
With consumers making more frequent trips to the supermarket during the week with smaller baskets, Goodson expects the lists to be on the shorter side.
Fields Foods’ local offerings will extend beyond the St. Louis craft beers and Missouri wines available in the bar area. The neighborhood business partnerships will add “local flavor” to the store, according to Goodson.
“For example, Park Avenue Coffee [with locations in Lafayette Square and Downtown St. Louis], which will have Park Avenue Express over here, will be part of the bakery and have their coffee and their grandma’s cake and their gooey butter cake and all that stuff,” he said.
The retailer will focus on sourcing fruits and vegetables from small and medium-size farmers within a 100-mile radius that practice sustainable agriculture.
The 37,000-square-foot building housing the supermarket will include a distribution and processing center called the St. Louis Food Hub that handles product from farmers and producers and distributes it to schools, nonprofits and restaurants. Goodson cofounded Fields Foods and the food hub with fellow real estate developer Jeffrey D. Randol.
Fields Foods’ store will be constructed differently than a typical grocery store.
“We don’t want it [grocery shopping] to be a chore, we want it to be a little bit of an experience,” Goodson said.
The produce department and seafood department will be built up to look like a produce barn or fishing dock.
“The butcher shop area is done like an old Main Street America butcher shop picking up a lot of the brick work that’s done on these historic buildings.”
Because the store’s location is near a commuter path, Fields Foods will have a large grab-and-go section and prepared food area for customers to pick up dinner on the way home.
In the prepared food area, “the chefs are very interactive and involved in preparing the meals and they’ll be pairing with the wines,” said Goodson.
Prices will range from low, bargain prices to higher prices for specialty goods. Partnering with the small, local farms will help keep the prices down, according to Goodson.
Fields Foods is the first grocery store in the Lafayette Square neighborhood, which has seen a revival over the past few decades, according to Goodson.
“One of the things we’re missing, though, when people move back here — of course the mom-and-pop shops came in and the different restaurants and the different things — are the big amenities.”
Goodson has had a hand in the neighborhood’s changes. He purchased an abandoned 500,000-square-foot hospital and carved out spaces for condos, and business such as a catering service, an event center and a climbing gym. Goodson brought in a Walgreens first across the street from the hospital.
The owners intend to build Fields Foods in a style that complements the historic buildings nearby.
“Construction’s going fantastic. We’ve had some really good weather, which has helped. It’s been nice and dry and sunny,” Goodson told SN in an October interview.
“Walls are going up, shelves are going in, it’s really starting to shape up like a grocery store.”
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