By Cody Willoughby
TROY — The community has welcomed a new business with open arms.
Needler’s Fresh Market, owned by Fresh Encounter Inc., held its official ribbon cutting ceremony at their new North Market Street location on Tuesday.
Festivities began at 12:30 p.m., with the ribbon cutting taking place at 1 p.m.
The event was open to the public. Product samples and giveaways were offered to those in attendance.
Present for the event were President and CEO Michael Needler and Director of Marketing Julia Anderson. Being brother and sister, the two emphasized that Needler’s Fresh Market is, at its core, a family enterprise.
“My sister and I are third-generation independent grocers.” Needler said. “This is not very common. It’s a tough market. We’ve got big-box competitors that are publicly traded. We’ve got foreign discounters that are coming into the market. We’re family-owned, and we want to be deeply connected to you all in ways that are unique to businesses in the community.”
The Troy location is one of 14 new Needler’s Fresh Market stores being re-branded from the former Marsh locations, including stores in Eaton and Middletown.
Advertising manager Grant Covault said, “When Marsh declared bankruptcy, we saw an opportunity. Michael and Julia fell in love with the town of Troy. This is one of a couple of the different stores that we have in the Miami Valley, but Troy really fits what we’re aiming for in the company, as far as the close-knit nature of the community. We met all the great people that already worked here and went through the process of finding out what this store has done in the past, what good things we can keep, and what other things we can improve upon.”
One special quality that the staff hopes to push is the in-store liquor option that the new market will provide, a feature that no other major grocers in the community currently have license to carry.
“The liquor option is certainly a value to our store.” Anderson said. “The convenience of having a nice bottle of wine or fine liquor right off of regular grocery shopping is great for customers. I think we have the best meat in town, and to have our wine selection along with that is a huge benefit.”
The new brand will place added concentration on sourcing local fresh produce and providing high-quality products in the bakery and deli that are prepared in-store.
“This is just a baseline.” Needler said. “We need to rebuild a rapport with residents. We’re getting the energy back with employees to know that there’s a future here. We’re going to continue to improve this store. Some things to look at will be expanding our fresh food department and enhancing the liquor store and coupling it with a dynamic beer and wine selection. Another important investment we’ve made with this facility is the prices. We dropped prices in pretty much every aisle on almost every item. Our name is on the building, so we care a lot about the experience that people have here.”
Fresh Encounter, Inc., is a supermarket company founded in 1995 by Michael S. Needler and the late Susan Cheek Needler. It currently manages 60 retail locations throughout Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky.
For more information, visit www.freshencounter.com.