With a focus on being local, unique and fresh, The Market on Limestone opened to a crowd of Gainesville shoppers Wednesday afternoon.
The Market is owned and operated by longtime local grocery company J&J Foods, but after a year of research, the rebranded store opened to customers on May 31.
"Last June, we hired a company I’ve described as 'professional listeners," said J&J President and CEO Darrell Wiley in a ceremony prior to the opening. "These 'listeners' talked to our customers as well as customers from other stores. They formed focus groups. They listened to what grocery shoppers liked and what they didn’t like about supermarkets. Our response to all that listening is just beyond those doors."
Among the offerings in the store - a tomato bar with dozens of varieties of tomatoes, a 'clip your own' herb garden, locally-produced wines, a 25-foot fresh bar, a new cafe area and a floral and gift shop.
Emily Wiley, the company's Director of Marketing and Purchasing, said the response to the change for the Limestone Parkway store has been very positive.
"People keep asking why we're doing it and the biggest reason is we just want to serve both communities. Our stores are three and a half miles apart, but we didn't feel that we were serving them both [the communities] adequately," Wiley said.
"By splitting the brands, it gives us the option to do different, unique things in this store and in the other store [on Jesse Jewell Parkway]. Now we have a chance to expand on what we're doing in both stores for both customer bases."
The Market on Limestone will be open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
J&J Foods, founded by Johnnie Wiley, has been in business since 1976.