The Pearl District is known for elegant wine bars, high-end restaurants and swank condos, but when it comes to fresh veggies, locals have just two main options: Whole Foods, the Texas-based grocery giant, and Safeway, the California-based supermarket chain.
Portland coupler Don and Georganne Sader plan to give their neighborhood what they consider to be a better option. They are in the process of opening Local Choice, a 10,000-square-foot market stocked almost entirely with products made, grown or distributed locally.
The Saders’ plan calls for up to 80 percent of the produce in the store to be either grown in Oregon or Washington or distributed through a company based in the Northwest that has at least half of its workforce here. Certain items, such as organic bananas and avocados, will come from outside the Northwest out of necessity. Gilliam says that all the stores he represents make some effort to buy locally but often find that to do so on a grand scale, or during winter months, isn’t feasible. Either way, Don Sader says, a purchase at Local Choice will support local jobs.
Construction on the more than $2 million project is under way in the former Brake Team building at the corner of Northwest Ninth Avenue and Everett Street. Plans call for a full kitchen and prepared-food deli, a beer and wine bar, a floral department and a smoothie and juice bar, among other amenities. An artist’s rendering of the space attached to a plywood wall on the site is already drawing comments from curious bystanders.
The Saders plan to host classes at Local Choice on subjects such as canning, and to hold cooking demonstrations. The demonstrations would include local ingredients from head chef Jeremy Niehuss, formerly with local cooking school In Good Taste, which closed its Pearl District location earlier this year. The Saders also want to encourage shoppers to start gardening for themselves, even if it’s on a condo terrace.
Stay tuned for the âopening dayâ update!