A new locally sourced grocery store is blossoming along downtown Wilmington’s main strip.
Farmin’ Brands recently released renderings of what its Farmin’ on Front shop will look like when it opens its doors later this summer. The wholesale company—which also owns an onsite bakery, Capital Creamery and Prospect Farms in Supply—announced in February that it would launch a scaled-down retail version of its larger Emerson Street campus in the 6,000-square-foot space at 143 N. Front St., site of the former Second Time Around vintage clothing boutique.
“We’ve been out of the retail market for some time now and, boy, are we excited about this evolution we’re coming back with,” said Randall Heath, senior director of brand experience for Farmin’. “It is something that we and the community can be very proud of.”
While admitting the endeavor has been “quite the challenge,” Farmin’ Stores director Molly Crawford said it is rewarding knowing the new shop will move in as downtown’s first full-service food market.
“We want our customers to experience a store that is not only inviting but is also memorable. We’re going to accomplish this by way of the diversity of the product, flow and features of our market, and engagement by our team,” Crawford noted.
Those elements include a walk-in “Beer Barn” and “Build-Your-Own Growler Station” for fans of craft brew, while an extensive wine selection will be available for the vino enthusiasts. An herb wall will allow shoppers to snip fresh flavors, and glass bottles of milk can be purchased through a unique vending machine. Farmin’ on Front will also house the “Butcher’s Shoppe” and “Captain’s Fresh Catch” nook.
For the busy working types, the store will stock ready-made Southern-inspired meals with a modern twist, such as braised pork with jalapeno pimento spread.
“Testing all of these products here at the Farmin’ campus sure has been tough,” joked Crawford, “but it’s a duty that we have taken great pride in.”
Farmin’ Brands has also taken strides to preserve the architectural history of the Front Street building in which the store will reside, while adding contemporary wood and steel implements.
“Getting back to the original bones of the building has opened up some great brand element possibilities. The old brick walls and open vaulted ceilings add an olden-times character to the store that we look forward to accentuating,” Farmin’ president Ben Long said.
Farmin’ leaders say the construction is on track for a summer opening, and the store is currently hiring for a number of positions.
The Front Street shop is just the beginning of a series of “satellite stores” Farmin’ hopes to add across the county, Heath said. While no definite plans are in place, Farmin’ has scouted potential spots in Monkey Junction, the Hampstead area, near Wrightsville Beach and in Brunswick County.
“We want [Farmin’ on Front] to be something that shines a light on what we’re trying to accomplish,” he said in an earlier interview. “Everything will be produced at the Farmin’ campus and distributed out to retail stores. That way, you will always be getting the same textures and tastes you are accustomed to.”