Local grocery will close unless new owners swoop in

The Root Cellar started in this converted garage in Old Louisville. It eventually closed and operated solely in its Germantown location.
The Root Cellar started in this converted garage in Old Louisville. It eventually closed and operated solely in its Germantown location.

Some sad news from a great local grocer: The Root Cellar will close at the end of the year unless new owners take over the business.

I’ve been a fan of The Root Cellar since it opened in Old Louisville in 2011. The small space was packed with local produce, meat and dairy products. At its peak, owner Ron Smith added a second location in Germantown in 2012 and even created a Kickstarter project to fund a mobile Root Cellar to bring produce to underserved areas in Louisville. Eventually, Ron closed the Old Louisville store and operated The Root Cellar out of the Germantown location.

On Saturday, Ron posted on The Root Cellar’s Facebook page that he will close the store at the end of the year if he can’t find someone to invest in the business. Here’s the post:

As many of you may already know, I have been trying to find some way to keep The Root Cellar around. I have discussed various ideas with some potential investors, but I have not fully committed to the process of selling the business. Well, now I have. I can no longer sustain the financial or physical burden of operating this store. I regret to have to tell you all, that I will be closing the store at the end of this year, unless a buyer or investor is found to take over the daily operation of the store. Any reasonable offer or investment scheme will be considered. I will be open regular hours through this winter and I look forward to serving each and every one of you. Thank you so much for your continued commitment to the store, the farmers and me. If you would like to meet to discuss purchasing the store, please email me at ron@louisvillerootcellar.com.

This makes me all kinds of sad. Ron is a great guy who always had the community’s interests at heart. He wanted to make fresh, local produce available to everyone, no matter what neighborhood you live in. I loved shopping at The Root Cellar when I lived in Old Louisville. It was good to know exactly which farm my eggs came from, to have a variety of seasonal produce around which to plan a meal, and to chat with an owner who loved food and agriculture even more than I do.

I’m not at Oprah-level baller status (yet), but I’m sure there’s someone out there who would be interested in taking over The Root Cellar. Ron included his contact info in his Facebook post, so get in touch with him if you want to invest. I’d sure hate to see The Root Cellar go.

Carve out time for these free Louisville events this weekend

Once upon a time, I was a surly teenager. Not a problem child, mind you, just an adolescent who thought there was nothing to do in this town and couldn’t wait to get out.

Me and the Hubs at 16. We were ready to blow this popsicle stand.
Me and the Hubs at 16. We were ready to blow this popsicle stand.

Jump ahead 10 years. Is it me, or is Louisville a lot more bustling than it used to be? There always seems to be some kind of fair or concert or free something-or-the-other that pile up and fill my Google calendar. Or maybe it’s me who has changed, and I can see how fun this city has been all along. /introspection

Anyhoozers, there are a couple of free events that will take place this weekend in our fair city. So if you can’t find something to do, don’t look at me.

Old Louisville SpringFest

  • What: Vendors, food trucks, artists and 10+ hours of local music; named as one of the Top Roadtrip Destinations for Spring 2012 by Travel+Leisure Magazine
  • When: 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 16, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, May 17
  • Where: Old Louisville
  • More information: oldlouisvillespringfest.org

 

Buy Local Fair

  • What: More than 150 booths showcasing goods and services from a variety of local businesses, musicians, artists and craftspeople, community organizations, and farmers; includes cooking competition between Milkwood’s Chef Kevin Ashworth and RYE on Market’s Chef De Cuisine Joe Bane
  • When: Noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, May 18
  • Where: Louisville Water Tower
  • More information: keeplouisvilleweird.com/buylocalfair

What’s your favorite neighborhood grocery store?

Local Louisville grocery stores are having their moment.

Insider Louisville profiled Sean Reynolds, an entrepreneur who plans to open Reynolds Grocery Store in Clifton next month. The store, which will be located at 1813 Frankfort Avenue, will be “closer to an indoor farmers’ market/Paul’s Fruit Market model than a full grocery.”

Reynolds will join a growing line-up of grocery stores that offer regional food at reasonable prices. Here are some of my favorites and what I turn to them for:

  • The Root Cellar. This relatively new store has two locations in Old Louisville and Germantown, and is $1,000 away from creating a Root Mobile to deliver produce to food deserts in South and West Louisville. Great for seasonal produce, farm-raised meat, dairy and eggs.
  • Paul’s Fruit Market. The Paul’s location around my way hits its peak between 5 and 6 p.m. That’s when office drones like me run in for last-minute ingredients to complete weeknight meals. Paul’s has a little bit of everything in its selection, from cheese and crackers to pasta and pesto. Great for fruit baskets, fresh orange juice, deli meat.
  • Frank’s Meat & Produce. If your parents where raised in Louisville, ask them about Frank’s. More than likely, they made frequent stops to this grocery store on Preston Highway. I don’t know what’s better at Frank’s — the hot lunches that never break $10 or the butcher’s counter with its steady supply of fresh meat. Great for meat, lunches, hard-to-find snacks.

What is your favorite neighborhood grocery store in or around Louisville?

The Root Mobile: The latest Louisville Kickstarter project worth your donation

 

The owner of The Root Cellar has worked hard to bring farm-fresh, local food to Louisville, and now he wants to take his market to the streets.

Ron Smith, founder of The Root Cellar food markets, has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $10,000 for the creation of The Root Mobile. Ron’s goal is “to transform an old bus into a mobile market bringing our farm fresh food to the people who have the least access to it.”

The Root Cellar is located in two brick-and-mortar locations — the original store at Third and Hill streets in Old Louisville and the corner of Kentucky and Swan streets in Germantown. So why put produce on wheels? Here are some of Ron’s objectives:

• increase the access to local foods in our community by taking The Root Mobile to neighborhoods called food deserts

• raise awareness for the need to change the paradigm of food delivery

• create a new business opportunity for The Root Cellar

• provide input into those areas of the South/West Ends of Louisville that would best support a permanent location for a third store

I regularly shopped at The Root Cellar when it first opened in 2011 and I lived right around the corner. Ron is not only one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, but he really cares about the community and the ability to access local food. I’m happy to see that he has taken on this project, and I happily pledged my support on Kickstarter.

As of Thursday night, The Root Mobile has raised $4,833 toward the big $10,000 goal. The project needs to raise the money by April 29 to be funded. If you’re interested in contributing to The Root Mobile, visit the Kickstarter page here

The Root Cellar to open Germantown location Oct. 6

The Root Cellar’s Old Louisville location.

Remember that corner grocery I used to go to all the time in Old Louisville?

It’s called The Root Cellar, and it is thriving.

The Root Cellar will open a second location on Swan Street in Germantown on Oct. 6. This store, like the original location on Third and Hill streets in Old Louisville, will sell local produce, meat and dairy products. The opening event will include a chance to meet the farmers who provide products to The Root Cellar.

For more information, visit The Root Cellar’s Facebook page or website.

Visit The Root Cellar for some great fresh, local groceries

Don't let the garage-like appearance deceive you. There's awesomeness inside.

I’ve only been out of Old Louisville for a couple of weeks, but there’s a lot I miss already.

Pizza night with my roommates. Burger Boy right down the street. The beautiful scenery that made my walks with Roscoe pleasant.

But a relatively new local produce market will keep me coming back to my old neighborhood.

The Root Cellar opened this May at the corner of Third and Hill streets in what appears to be a former garage or gas station. The business’ aim is simple – provide only locally raised food to a section of Louisville missing a retail outlet for fresh, local produce.

Here’s a blurb from The Root Cellar’s website:

The idea for The Root Cellar was born out of a desire to be part of the local food chain in an environmentally positive and socially conscientious way … The neighborhood of Old Louisville has been in need of a small, Mom and Pop retail store for many years.  The people have longed for just such an new idea in retailing that The Root Cellar provides.  We also are anxious to reach out to the other surrounding neighborhoods like California, Park Hill, Algonquin, Smoketown, Shelby Park, Limerick and Germantown, as well as, serve the University of Louisville and its unique blend of faculty, staff and students.

The Root Cellar provides a generous variety of local food that extends beyond fruits and vegetables. On a couple of recent visits, the shelves and refrigerators have been stocked with items such as milk, honey, bison meat and yogurt. I am a big fan of the eggs that The Root Cellar offers.

It’s wonderful to have this market in this part of town. I hope that kids and adults without regular exposure to the joys of local eating will benefit from The Root Cellar’s presence. Find out more about The Root Cellar on Facebook and Twitter.

Moving out of my apartment sucks. I’d rather be writing about food.

I’m going to scream if I have to look at one more cardboard box.

For the past week, I have been packing in preparation for my move out of Old Louisville and to the Wyandotte area. I hate moving. I really do. I hate packing and the subsequent cleaning that results when you go through piles of your own junk. I hate carrying a shoe rack and hampers and oscillating fans and all those other things with awkward shapes down to my Corolla from a second floor apartment. I hate having to redo the whole process in reverse when I arrive at my new location. And I especially hate that I haven’t had time to blog about food and whatnot. HATE HATE HATE.

So the $10 Challenge will return Monday, as will more regular blogging, after I’ve (hopefully) escaped my own personal hell of relocating. In the meantime, here are some things that have been on my mind:

 

  • I’m pouring out a little bourbon for my friends and good writers who were laid off from the Courier-Journal this week.