By Meg Olson
A year ago Dean Priestman, manager of the Point Roberts International Marketplace, brought David Duncan in as the store’s produce manager, and a yearlong revitalization of the store began.
“Dave is a very experienced produce professional who knows the products, knows what moves and has the contacts,” Priestman said. With the confidence he had hired a professional who could expand and build the produce section, Priestman said they moved the liquor section against the wall and used that space for a burgeoning produce section.
“Now when you come in, you’re looking at beautiful fresh produce instead of caged liquor,” he said.
Turning their attention to the store shelves, Priestman said the store’s staff undertook a complete reorganization, adding an extra aisle to accommodate a growing selection of products. “We added about 1,500 new items: natural foods, organics, gluten-free and higher end items,” he said. “We went for more than the basics.”
The store owners also invested in new deli equipment. “We were able to bring in more items,” Priestman said, including sliced meats and cheeses, deli salads and pastries.
Natural grass-fed beef was added to the meat department, which was already a full-service butcher shop able to fill customer orders for special cuts.
“It’s worked out awesome,” Priestman said of the store’s makeover. “Customers are happy. I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback, especially about the produce.”
Customers will continue to guide the store’s evolution, he added. “If there’s ever a unique item someone wants, if I can get it, I’ll bring it in.”