A First Look Inside The Curb Market
I’ve been mourning the loss of my beloved Easy Way on Cooper in midtown for a few months now.
Old meets new. Bittersweet. pic.twitter.com/vrjtIJNyZ5
— Holly Whitfield (@ilovememphis) January 8, 2016
Now that I’ve shed my tears for markets past, it’s time to look ahead to markets future. Today I got a sneak peek inside The Curb Market, which will open to the public on March 25, 2016.
The Curb Market’s managers Pamela and Justin told me that the store’s focus is on local foods for the daily neighborhood shopper. It’s not all organic stuff, but it is all locally-sourced and responsibly farmed. They’ll have seasonal produce, pork and beef, eggs, dairy products, and other local food items like snacks (I spied some Nikki’s Hot Ass chips), honey, frozen entrees, baked goods, and more. And local beer.
About a dozen of the same vendors who had products at the former Easy Way will be available at The Curb Market, including the vendor who sold plants and herbs out front.
The inside, obviously still under construction, uses cool light fixtures (sorry, you can’t really see them well here) made by a neighborhood artist, reclaimed farm wood, and refurbished produce displays from the Easy Way.
Justin explained that they’re not trying to be a specialty foods shop or gourmet store, but that the items available at The Curb are all “exhaustively researched” to be sure they were grown or produced with best practices. Pam reiterated that the produce will be fresh and from within 100 miles of Memphis whenever possible. This MBJ article has a few more details on sourcing.
They’re not a deli and won’t have a dine-in area, but who knows what could happen in the future. I could see some picnic tables out front, at least.
You know me, I had to ask about prices – and while time will tell – they are trying to keep the price points equal to or lower than a Fresh Market or Whole Foods. The goal seems to be a balance between convenience for shoppers and appropriate compensation for farming families whose products and produce they’ll sell.
While I was in the shop, an older gentleman walked in the door looking for Easy Way. Apparently this happens five or six times a day. I overheard the conversation he had with Pam.
“I’m looking for real cream for my coffee, whole D milk, real butter…am I going to get that here?”
“USDA Prime here?”
I realize that sounds like a commercial, but I’m just telling you what I saw and heard. I won’t share with you his commentary on some of his current grocery options, but it was quite entertaining and Seessel’s was mentioned.
Above: View of under-construction shop from the checkout counter. They plan to use that table you see on the left for food demos and tastings. Please tell me someone makes a local cheese that I can sample here when it opens.
Fun fact: The Curb Market is named after the old Curb Market on Cleveland which this Daily News editorial describes as “an utterly unique collection of shops from delis to florists” where farmers would pull up to the curb and sell produce right out of their trucks. It seems it was active in the 1940s-60s. Maybe I’ll ask Jimmy Ogle what else he knows about it.
The Curb Market will open on March 25 and they plan to be open Mondays through Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. They’ll accept cash, most credit cards, and EBT SNAP.
Go there (after March 25):