New Mpls. Grocery Store Opens with 'Roaring Twenties' Theme

Updated: 04/15/2014 6:03 AM
Created: 04/14/2014 6:08 PM
By: Kate Renner

A new style of grocery store opened Monday on East Lake Street in Minneapolis.

The store, Longfellow Market, allows you to take a step back 90 years and experience that old-time feeling when all your neighbors shopped at the same store, and the shopkeeper knew your name.

The 1920s was a rare time of economic prosperity and peace in America. So it's easy to see why it's an attractive time for a local grocer to want to recreate. The building is a restored 1926 car dealership with a pressed-tin ceiling and wood floors.

"We're kind of priding ourselves as a local neighborhood supermarket," said shopkeeper Kent Larson.

A butcher manages his own on-site smokehouse, using his own recipes. No detail is too small or too grandiose.

Once a month they plan to have a barbershop quartet perform. Even the staff's wardrobe meets last century's code with black bow ties and white dress shirts.

Soon vintage décor will fill the shelves with historic products like Old Dutch's potato chip tins or flour sacks from General Mills.

Each display at the end of the aisles is meant to highlight foods make by Minnesota companies, currently Crystal Sugar of Minneapolis, Gedney Pickles of Chaska, and Betty Crocker cake mix from General Mills in Golden Valley is on display.

"To have something this size and locally owned right in the neighborhood is really nice to have," said neighbor Lori Robinson.

"It's like the old time grocery store, where you have your friendly grocers, your butchers, they talk to you," said neighbor Craig Kent.

"We're tying to take buying local to a new level," said Larson.

The Longfellow Market will offer monthly demonstrations from Minnesota companies. "Kemps, which is our ice cream supplier, will come in and teach people to make ice cream the way they used to do it. Land O'Lakes is going to come and teach people to churn butter," said Larson.

How about the prices? Larson said they are priced competitively with the box stores.

But comparing four staple items bought at Longfellow Market with the same items bought at Rainbow Foods and Lunds show Longfellow Market is more expensive.

The price of a gallon of milk, a pound of strawberries, five pounds of flour, and a box of Wheaties cereal totaled $14.46 at Longfellow Market, $10.89 at Rainbow Foods, and $11.27 at Lunds.

But according to Larson, since Longfellow Market is independently owned, they'll be able and willing to adjust their prices according to their competition, without needing approval from any corporate headquarters.

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