Last we saw of Tyler Myers, his IGA Kress Market was just opening in downtown Seattle; the results to date (according to his publicists) are encouraging. Now he's back on familiar ground (Whidbey Island) and trying again. Cornichon sent regular correspondent & guest blogger Jacqueline Pruner to check out the new store.
The Goose Community Grocer, complete with up-to-date Facebook and Twitter accounts, opened its doors on South Whidbey Island at Bayview Center last week.
In typical, glorious, “do-it-differently” island fashion, this grocer is a unique partnership between a non-profit called Goosefoot and The Myers Group (the company behind Seattle’s Kress IGA and the Snoqualmie Ridge Grocery Store).
What makes this grocer worth the ferry ride over, you ask? A quality of folksiness, of small-town (or island) cohesion, of mutual support and local pride. Some examples:
1) Their approach to doing business. They balance South Whidbey’s rural quality of life and standard of living, with net proceeds to be reinvested back into the community. All this under a focus of environmental responsibility: The Goose uses energy-efficient, refurbished, reused, and reclaimed products and materials – with an estimated reduction of 15 to 20 percent in energy use and annual savings of close to $30,000.
2) The food. The Goose also highlights local and regional farmers and artisans by carrying their products in their stores. Although I’d like to see more local products (a local “soupery” installed, for example), they’re off to a decent start. Try the gourmet, sashimi grade canned tuna from High Seas Tuna (allegedly once you taste some, it’ll ruin you for all other canned tuna products, which, I’m told, will begin to taste like cat food in comparison). Feeling saucy? Try Neal Mobley’s veritable variety of tahini sauce by Mr. Mobley’s Food Specialties or Lopez Larry’s gourmet mustards (the Dill Caper Mustard and Garlic Red Onion Mustard sauces were favs). And don’t forget to take home the melt-in-your-mouth-without-giving-you-sugar-shock cakes from Whidbey Islander John Auburn’s JW Desserts (a $10,000 winner with his metallic green, Seattle skyline cake on the Food Network Challenge last October 2008).
3) Humble beginnings. And to think that Tyler Myers himself, president of The Myers Group, began his career as a box boy/courtesy clerk for this very same supermarket – once owned by his father back when it was called Casey’s Red Apple – that is now South Whidbey’s new Goose Community Grocer.
You’ve come a long way, baby. Now, go get yourself goosed.