In 2017, Oliver’s Markets founder Steve Maass began selling his company to staff through an employee stock ownership plan. “Steve chose to do this instead of selling to an outside company to preserve the legacy of Oliver’s and remain locally and independently operated,” says Eric Meuse, general manager of operations.
Indeed, local is important to this Sonoma County, California, retailer. Oliver’s Markets’ four locations offer natural, conventional and specialty products, with a heavy emphasis on partnering with local farmers and producers of food, beverage and wellness items. Oliver’s carries over 6,000 locally produced products. And with its fourth location opening in Windsor, California, last year, the retailer further demonstrates its commitment to serving the local community and beyond.
Here’s how the new Windsor store builds on Oliver’s tradition of local support:
Community space. This outpost includes Oliver’s first in-store tavern, called Tavern Off the Green (named for the store’s location near the town’s green). This family-friendly gathering place allows customers to enjoy foods purchased from the market or order from a gastropub-style menu. There are 24 beers, ciders, kombuchas and wines on tap, most produced locally. The tavern’s events calendar includes live music, brewery and winery tasting events, and happy hours Monday through Friday.
Thoughtful design. “The store’s eye-catching interior design is focused on our local food-, beverage- and product-producing partners and reinforces our commitment to supporting local producers whenever possible,” Maass says. The design also educates customers on the wealth of local items available, as well as how purchasing these products from a local store contributes to the surrounding economy.
Eco-friendly bones. As Oliver’s first ground-up operation, the Windsor store was constructed with the latest sustainable and low-energy features. For example, recycled timber from nearby buildings is used as paneling and tables in the tavern. “The store combines the latest modern technology with local craftsmanship and materials to create a modern yet warm and authentic feel,” Maass explains.
The other Retailer of the Year New Store/Remodel finalists are:
The Retailer of the Year winners were announced at Natural Products Expo East 2017.