What started off as a graduate school project has become a successful business for two women, and now they're opening a new store on Seattle's First Hill.
Stockbox Grocers plans to open a store at 901 James Street in August of 2013. The co-founders say their goal to provide healthy food options to areas known as "food deserts."
"A food desert is an area where people don't have access to fresh produce or grocery staples within walking distance," says COO and co-founder Carrie Ferrence.
The first Stockbox opened in a shipping container in Seattle's Del Ridge neighborhood in 2011, as a graduate school project of Ferrence, and CEO and co-founder Jacqueline Gjurgevich. In 2012, they opened a 529 square-foot store in South Park.
The small stores don't face the same razor-thin margins that many large grocery stores do, according to Gjurgevich. They aim to offer a healthier selection than convenience stores and fast food restaurants.
"When you walk in the door, you see produce," said Ferrence. "And it's fresh and well stocked."
The co-founders say Harborview approached them about opening a store in the First Hill neighborhood, which lost M Street Grocery when it closed two years ago.
"It's one of the most dense and walk dependent communities in the city of Seattle, not having a grocery store inside the community," said Gjurgevich. "[It] means it's difficult to access produce and meals when you need it."