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Woolley Market: New grocer centered on community

Sep 3rd, 2014 | Category: Community

by Cait Auer

Nestled in Sedro-Woolley is the new Woolley Market, focused on providing local sources and centered around the community and its history. The store officially opened Saturday, July 26 and is now open daily.

The produce department in the new Woolley Market, and the deli and shopping area (below). COURTESY PHOTOS

The produce department in the new Woolley Market, and the deli and shopping area (below). COURTESY PHOTOS

Will and Tahlia Honea, the owners and residents that spearheaded the market project, have always had a passion for quality food.

“Opening a store is a process and a journey. We want to take a community approach to it, and listen to folks about what they want,” Will said. “Our goal is to help the downtown revitalization of Sedro-Woolley” and “promote the local agricultural economy.”

Built in the 1920s as a J.C. Penney’s department store, the Woolley Market’s building still retains original features that are now renovated with fresh attention to detail. The building was chosen because it is located beside the original dividing line between the towns of Sedro and Woolley, and was a main center for commerce.

“One of the main things that we’re trying to do is to promote a tighter community here in Sedro-Woolley,” Will said.

A big part of the restoration and planning of the space is focused on Sedro-Woolley’s farming and logging industry history. Local treasures have been brought back to life. Removing the store’s orange carpet revealed original maple flooring. Peeling plaster off of the store’s tall columns exposed wooden beams.woolley market inside web

“Pretty much everything here’s restored or hand built,” Will said.  “This celebrates the logging heritage here. The flooring is a local, rare, red maple. We’ve tried to incorporate the town’s history in our design. It’s like a wood museum, just as it is a market.”

Other pieces of community are placed throughout the store. Café tables have been built with bases from old tractor discs, and the window bar was donated by a local mill. Photographs, including three large ones mounted above the entrance door, show glimpses of the area’s history.

The market is a Social Purpose Corporation, a Washington state business that wants to grow based on the values rooted in their mission. “What it allows us to do is to write into the charter social purposes other than profiting,” he said.

The store’s marketing coordinator, Madelyn Hamilton, shares the Honeas’ passion for creating a community-oriented establishment. “When we’re surrounded by so much wonderful, amazing, rich farmland, it’s a shame that the people of Skagit can’t buy the products in town,” she said. “There’s no retail outlet for a lot of those great products, which is crazy. It’s problematic on a number of levels, because people can’t produce the rich, healthy food, and the producers don’t have access to that potential economic market.” The store, she said, helps both sellers and buyers.

A variety of products and items from local farmers, producers and crafters, are available at the store, and more will be includes more as market staff and patrons get settled in. (See the sidebar below for some of the producers currently on site.)

The eatery offers a variety of sandwiches, like their slow roasted pulled pork, Banh Mhi with homemade pork pate, Cuban, Muffaletta, among others. The burrito and taco bar’s options include chicken verde, pork rojo, seasonal vegetables, crunchy veggie ceviche, creamy chipotle buttermilk sauce, and San Juan Salsa. Breakfast items include a breakfast burrito with homemade sausage. Espresso drinks are available as well as local beer, wine, cider, and kombucha on tap, with ice cream, meats and cheeses too.

“At our place, when you’re done grocery shopping you can sit down and have a cold beer,” Will said. “We wanted to really make sure that we’re using all this great product in our deli as well, so that you’re getting access to local food in both the grocery and the café side of the store.

In addition, the store holds regular music and will offer other events like cooking demonstrations with chefs and more.

“I think what makes a project successful is when it can authentically speak to the nature of a place – its people, its history, its ecosystem, its region. Virtually every step of the way, we have intentionally tried to incorporate as much of our place into the Woolley Market as we can,” Hamilton said.

For more information, visit www.woolleymarket.com.

Local farmers and producers

The Woolley Market continues to seek out local farmers and producers.  Anyone interested in making their products available at the store, contact (360) 899-4540.

Products are available from the following local businesses, among others: Birdsview Brewery, Bow Hill Blueberries, Chuckanut Brewery, Draper Valley, Edaleen Dairy, Eagel Haven Winery, Edaleen Dairy, Golden Glen Creamery, Gothberg Farm, Hammerhead Coffee Roasters, Highwater Farm, Jericho Farm, Lopez Island Creamery, Misty Mountain Farm, Old Silvana Creamery, Osprey Hill Farm, Rabbit Fields Farm, Samish Bay Cheese, Skagit River Ranch, Skagit Valley Brewery Sky Harvest Produce, Spring Frog Farm Holistic Homestead, St. John Creamery, Whidbey Island Ice Cream, and Youngquist Farms.

Published in the September 2014 issue of Grow Northwest

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