It's got an in-house bakeshop, a sparkling new "demo kitchen" and more than 100 employees. But this is no megamart . . . it's the new incarnation of Healthy Living Market, located at 222 Dorset Street. "Every department is bigger," boasts owner Katy Lesser. "We have 2000 new items on the shelves."
But while the store has changed, the food philosophy hasn't. "There's a lot more gourmet stuff. Expanded lines of natural and organic stuff we just didn't have room to carry before," Lesser relates. What about local products? "We're all getting done reading The Omnivore's Dilemma around here, and we feel more committed than ever to local meat," she muses. Like everything else in the store, the produce section has also expanded.
The café, which should open by Friday, will be serving up a bunch of new items, including homemade pizza, rôtisserie chicken, panini and fancy pastries, plus a plethora of grab 'n' go meals. Once the "demo coordinator" gets in the groove, there will be in-store demos and tastings "all day, every day," Lesser says. Cooking classes start in the spring, once Lesser's daughter finishes culinary school and moves home to join the family biz.
Locals were surprised when the old store, behind Barnes & Noble and the Blue Mall, closed its doors right before the holidays. "Our lease was up the last day of the year. We would have liked to stay longer, but we were not given the option," says Lesser. She was forced to shut down operations before the Christmas frenzy so that staffers would have time to move the stock and vacate the premises. "It was so difficult," Lesser says. "It was not a choice that I wanted to make."
Luckily, she adds, "We got up and running really quickly. My staff worked their tails off." The new store, which is three times the size of the old one, opened its doors on New Year's Eve.