Our very own Carrie Ferrence writes on the overpowering experience of engaging in retail to make social change.
This time two years ago was a bit of a blur. We were anxiously wrapping up last steps, pushing to get the doors open: shelving and refrigeration were still being pieced together; inventory orders will still being tweaked; staff had not yet been hired; and contractors were working through the weekends to get it all done.
It was a big time for us. We were excited to be opening our second store and to see our team grow. We were excited to actively explore and learn about our new community. And we were excited to evolve our business model with a larger format.
But, we were also really nervous. This store represented a much larger investment than our prototype and smaller South Park format. So much more was riding on this roll-out and, even with all our due diligence on the community, we faced a lot of unknowns. A lot of moving pieces needed to fall into place for this store to be a success.
Now, two years later, we can say it was worth the nail biting and long days. Our customer traffic continues to grow and the store continues to hit new sales milestones. We’ve built a lot of great customer relationships and continue to meet new neighbors as word of the store spreads. And, our team continues to grow and refine how we deliver on our commitment to community and fresh food.
Even just in the past six months, we’ve added our Stockbox Meal Solutions line, new outdoor furniture, new products like frozen seafood, and expanded options in meat and bulk. We continue to add on new suppliers. And, we are constantly adjusting inventory based on our customer requests.
However, that nervousness we felt before opening is now replaced by the drive to continually improve. So, the projects in the line-up for the next six months will challenge us to not just grow but to more clearly articulate how Stockbox is unique.
Unique to First Hill. Unique to Seattle. And unique in the grocery industry. Because, at the end of the day, we’re not just a really small grocery store- we’re a walking, talking representative of what business should look like in the changing urban landscape. It should be fresh. It should be accessible to everyone. It should reflect the community. And, it should be welcoming.
Thank you to all of you who have shopped at Stockbox over the past 2 years. Thank you for the feedback, both supportive and constructive. And, thank you for being a part of our story as we move forward in building a network of grocery stores across this city and eventually beyond.