Does it have to be this way? Many entrepreneurial ideas begin with this challenge.
Just one year ago, Rachel Krupa began to ask herself this question about a space that millions of people — especially New Yorkers — rely on every day: the convenience store. A food industry veteran, Krupa has spent most of the last decade at the helm of her public relations firm Krupa Consulting where she has helped new food and restaurant brands reach their audiences. But with this launch, it’s her own brand that she’s pushing, and bringing many of her PR clients — like Matcha Bar, Sfoglini and Vital Farms — along for the ride.
This week, Krupa opened the doors to the second location of The Goods Mart, a convenience store re-imagined for the age of wellness, sustainability, and on-the-go living. Tucked in between Broome and Grand on Lafayette, the 400-square-foot mini-mart offers busy shoppers an array of prepared foods, household staples, personal care products, and “cosmetically challenged” fruits and vegetables that all ladder back to an essential value system: better-for-you and socially conscious. All products in The Goods Mart are free from artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, growth hormones, hormone disruptors, nitrates, antibiotics, GMOs, BPAs, and deleterious pesticides. All single-serve beverages are served in non-plastic materials such as Tetra-Pak, aluminum, or glass.
The Manhattan store is a follow-up to The Goods Mart’s premier location in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, where Krupa has been able to prototype her concept. With the store’s eye-catching black and white geographic design and better-for-you versions of staples like ketchup, slushies and paper towels, Krupa is asking all of us to reconsider what has long been the status-quo quick-mart experience . Krupa wants to turn the neighborhood fixture from a place to run mindless errands into a space for cultivating connection. In Los Angeles, The Goods Mart has hosted an ice cream happy hour for a local elementary school and farm-to-table dinners. Both store locations donate “tips” to a different charity each month, drop off leftovers to local shelters, and organize monthly volunteer opportunities. The New York location’s first volunteer event — a weekend excursion with the NYC Parks Stewardship Program — filled up with over 30 eager volunteers in just a few days. “We’re igniting the community to come together to do something for the community,” Krupa says.
A core part of creating community, Krupa knows, is making the store accessible for shoppers on every budget. With that in mind, caffeine-craving Manhattanites can pour themselves La Colombe drip coffee for just $1.25 and stop by the pre-made foods section to pick up burritos by Burritos Las Palma, vanilla and cashew pudding from Westbourne, a prosciutto and mozzarella sandwich by Alidoro, or vegan curry puffs by a Brooklyn-based caterer, each sold for less than $10. The West Coast store just celebrated its six-month anniversary by announcing that they now accept EBT. “The mission is to make better food more accessible,” she states.
I asked Krupa how she has turned her idea into a reality in just one short year.
“I’m a doer,” she replied with confidence, “not a talker.”
The Goods Mart is located at 189 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10013.