Some of our readers may not have lived in South Boston long enough to remember when Flannagan’s was our only grocery store. And even when Flannagan’s became Stop and Shop, it was still the only place in town to do your weekly “order.”
Now we are a neighborhood rich with specialty cheese shops, bakeries, wine and spirits stores, and artisanal goods. One of the first “new” grocers to venture into Southie was Foodies, a family-owned local grocery store. With headquarters in Duxbury and a store in the South End, South Boston is the company’s third store, with a fourth coming to Belmont.
CIS caught up with Foodies’ General Manager David Healy to see how things have been going.
CIS: So, what brought Foodies to South Boston three years ago?
“The growth, the dynamic change the neighborhood was experiencing. This was and is the place to be. It’s booming and the clientele is a perfect match for what we have to offer.”
CIS: Did you feel a squeeze when Whole Foods opened up over the bridge?
“You know no, not really. My customer count is still rising, and that is what I am concerned with. I’m sure we lost a few dollars when they first opened, and people can certainly do a larger shopping order there, but we’ve been consistently growing and that’s OK by us.”
CIS: Anything different about the South Boston customer over other locations?”
“I’ve been in the grocery business for 40+ years – I started out bagging groceries at Roche brothers when I was a teenager. Here (in Southie) I honestly have the easiest customers; they are very easy going and easy to please. If they can’t find something in the store, and I know we don’t have it in stock, I order it and can get it to them in a few days, and they are very appreciative of that.”
CIS: You tried to get a beer and wine license and that didn’t happen. Why did you pursue it?
“We wanted to be able to display a few choice wines and beers for food pairings, but the City said there were plenty of places to purchase beer and wine, and that is fine. We love the guys at Al’s and we’re good neighbors. I often see people shop here, then pop into Al’s for their liquor so I guess we are pairing in a way!”
CIS: Can you give me the secret recipe for that amazing Kale Salad from the deli?
“Not on the record! It is one of our best sellers – in fact we package it in the grab ‘n go section now because it is so sought-after.”
Foodies is truly a Boston-based, family run company. Vic Leon Sr. (General Manager of all Foodies Markets) lived on Shawmut Ave in the South Cove area as a young boy. His grandfather started a grocery business on Albany Street in the early 1900’s when horses delivered all the groceries. The stable had a fire and eventually they moved the business to Hyde Park and closed it many years later. Vic Sr. started Foodies in 1998 after being a broker for many years because of his love of food and the food business.
Fun Foodies Facts:
Foodie’s employees are mostly Boston residents.
At the South Boston store, they hire people from Boston Housing Authority development across the street and the neighborhood of South Boston. They believe strongly in hiring local. Many of their employees have been with them for over 10 years.
Foodies Market and Whole Foods Market source much of their produce from the same vendor.
They deliver! You can order on line and your items are hand-picked by one of their employees in the South Boston store. http://foodiesmarkets.com/shop-online
Seniors get a 10% discount on Tuesdays. 65 and older.
Outdoor seating is coming! Foodies was approved to position three tables and chairs outside the store for customers to enjoy before or after shopping.
There are in-house butchers who can age meat and will special cut selections by order.
Fish is purchased daily from the docks at the Boston Fish Piers.
Foodies is on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.