Grocery stores, once plentiful in Uptown Oxford, have been missing for many years, but 2018 will dawn with a new one opening just a block off High Street.
The Fridge & Pantry Uptown Market, 35 E. Church St., will have a “soft opening” Jan. 2 to be followed by a grand opening and ribbon-cutting Jan. 22.
The market is planned to serve a variety of needs with a deli section, a Growler Tap and Smoothie Bar, and a wide range of grocery and personal care items as well as same-day delivery.
Co-owners Steve Thomas and Cody Costanzo have been busy readying the new grocery that will include a full-service deli.
“In Oxford, it’s all about location. It was difficult to find a location Uptown and when we saw this one for rent, we jumped on it,” Costanzo said. “It was a perfect fit.”
Both Costanzo and Thomas are Miami University graduates and are not new to the local business scene.
Thomas opened Seaview Outfitters in 2011 with the help of the city’s Revolving Loan Fund, which offers low-interest loans to startups with the proceeds going back into the fund to help other businesses.
Costanzo and Thomas later opened Root Yoga, also using the Revolving Loan Fund. Now with two years remaining on that loan, and are now in their second partnership with Fridge & Pantry.
“We plan an interesting product mix,” Costanzo said of Fridge & Pantry.
Vendors of the nearby Uptown Farmers Market will be able to sell in their store, he said.
The two took over the store location in March and have spenttime since then getting it ready to open.
“We’ve had the space since March but our goal was we wanted to do it the right way. Our (initial) original goal was Aug.1 to open. We were not in too big a rush. We wanted to do it right,” Costanzo said.
Part of the delay was installing a sink in the deli area after a health department inspection.
While they expect most of the deli business to be take-out, they do plan to have a few tables where customers can eat onsite.
The Growler Tap and Smoothie Bar is located at the rear of the grocery area.
While the store’s beer and wine license will only allow for sales, not on-premise consumption, Costanzo said their long-range plan is an on-premise license so they can offer wine tastings or cooking classes.
“That would be down the road,” he said. “We want to make sure we are doing everything else right before we go down that road. There’s not a big rush for that.”
Costanzo said they see the store as filling a need for both the Oxford community and Miami University students, especially with the delivery service to be offered.
“With our experience as college students, we thought (Fridge & Pantry) was a good option. It’s not a far walk for students and (residents) with kids. We think it will be a great fit for the community,” he said. “Grocery delivery is really growing, in general.”
Fridge & Pantry will be open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.