Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Fairlawn Showcase Part I: Earth Fare

I get email solicitations all of the time from people and companies wanting me to write about product 'X' or service 'Y'. In cases where I think that the product or service aligns itself well with the goals of this blog, I have agreed in the past to evaluate or promote it. One of those goals is to write about local chains or locally owned and operated independent restaurants because they are what making living in this part of Ohio so unique. In cases where I have agreed to write about a national chain (such as when I reviewed Bonefish Grill in Independence), I also made it a point to include a companion review on a similar independent restaurant, too (Restaurant Dante in Tremont).

Earth Fare is an eastern United States chain of stores based out of Asheville, NC that is operating in seven states, including their newest store in the Montrose/Fairlawn area which has its grand opening today. Corley May, Web Content Producer for Earth Fare, contacted me last Thursday wondering if I would be interested in touring the new store. When Corley sweetened the deal by throwing in not one, but TWO $50 gift cards to give away to my lucky readers, how could I say no?

After agreeing to the terms with Corley, I quickly realized that I could use the coverage of this national chain to help showcase a locally owned and operated chain of stores familiar to Cleveland and Akron residents alike, Mustard Seed Market. I contacted the folks at Mustard Seed Market, explained what had transpired, and asked if they'd be willing to balance out the Earth Fare review in a two-part write-up, the second installment of which will post this Friday. Not only did they agree, but they graciously also decided to donate two $50 gift cards, too! That's right, gentle reader, over the next couple of days, I'll be giving away $200 worth of gift cards!

But now to the main topic of today's post: Earth Fare. The new store is located at 3737 West Market Street, Fairlawn, OH 44333 and can be reached at 330-668-3500. The store is positioned in the same strip mall that houses Bruegger's, Pier One, and Hobby Lobby (CompUSA and Borders used to be in the same building). They have both a Facebook page as well as a Twitter account.

Here was a shot of the exterior of the new store:


Once inside the main door, I was greeted by store representative Kristi Kanzig, Assistant Director of Marketing, who graciously showed me around the new store pointing out some of the major points of interest. Since I wanted to give my readers out there a visual perspective of what they can expect, my descriptions will be fairly terse.


Community and store calendar located just inside the main door.


Earth Fare wants you to know its philosophy on food right from the get-go. This was just inside the main door in the produce area.


Produce area. Beige labels are conventionally grown produce, orange labels are organic, and green labels mean locally grown produce from within 100 miles of the Fairlawn store.


One of Earth Fare's commitments is to partner with smaller family farms (not necessarily within 100 miles or organic). This symbol indicates that the item was produced on such a farm.


This symbol on an item indicates that it was produced on a local farm from within 100 miles of the Fairlawn store (again, it doesn't necessarily mean it is organic or from a small family farm).


During the first twelve weeks that the store is open, various produce will rotate in and out of the "Thank You" specials.


Just beyond the produce section was the bulk foods area. Grains, flour, seeds, nuts, rice, candy, trail mixes, they've got quite the selection.


At the rear of the store behind the bulk foods was the seafood and butchery areas. All meats are labeled organic/non-organic, place of origin, grass-fed/conventional, and whether the fish was farm-raised or wild caught.


When I asked Kristi about those with special dietary needs, she helpfully pointed out this row, noting that items that are Gluten Free not only have signs indicating as such, but the front of these shelves had wooden surfaces instead of the brown metal on all of the others.


In the middle of the store was a wellness area containing a wide selection of vitamins, supplements, herbal remedies, teas and much more. This location will have someone on staff to assist customers in finding exactly what they need.


Also in the wellness area were the bulk herbs and spices. While you can buy a glass jar from Earth Fare, if you have your own, bring it and stop by the customer service area and they will note the weight of your bottle coming in, so you only pay for the difference when you leave.


At the opposite rear point in the store was the cheese section. This was one of two cases of artisan cheeses and there was a third case of more bulk-style cheese. Tasting is encouraged.


In front of the cheese area (moving closer to the front of the store) was the wine and beer area. Here was a selection of incredibly reasonably priced wines geared at organic/sulfite-free/locally made/conventional wine drinkers. Wines are helpfully labeled to help shoppers navigate.


The beer selection contained beer at many levels from Pabst Blue Ribbon (which Kristi pointed out) to many micro-brews and imports (I noticed Sam Smiths ... always a good choice).


Between the wine and beer "walls" was a section that contained special selections for the week that ran $15 or less. This will be a great way for Earth Fare to showcase specific wines to customers.


As we moved closer to the front of the store, we entered the hot and cold food service areas. One of the items that Kristi spent some time discussing was the weekly Thursday Family Dinner Night.


This was the pizza and sandwich prep area. Not only will pizzas be available for purchase and consumption at the store, but par-baked pizzas will also be available to take home and finish baking yourself.


The sandwich menu at the pizza and sandwich prep station.


Moving diagonally across the isle from the previous station we found the in-house bakery. Here was a shot of some of the freshly baked breads and pies made in preparation for today's store opening.


This was the pastry case filled to the brim with homemade treats ready for today's big event. Breads and pastries are all labeled so that you can find exactly the kind of treat that fits your eating requirements.


Directly next to the bakery (and nearly at the front of the store) was a coffee, tea, juice, and smoothie bar.


Sushi area where freshly made sushi is available in either white or brown rice every day.


Prepared foods just to the right of the sushi area and just in front of the cash registers.


Any of the foods purchased at Earth Fare can be eaten in this decently sized cafe area. While this obviously isn't a full-service restaurant, you can certainly assemble a meal from the various hot and cold food stations throughout the store and sit here to enjoy your meal.


Earth Fare has committed to showing local artists on the walls in their cafe. Here was a piece by Allison, an eighth grader from a local school.

Having spent nearly an hour with me, I thanked Kristi for her time and made my way back out into the warm, not-quite-sure-if-it-was-going-to-shower evening air. While Corley had originally agreed to give away two $50 gift cards to my awesome readers, I was surprised when Kristi handed me my very own $50 gift card. While I will certainly be returning to give Earth Fare a more thorough shakedown, as a reward for getting all the way to the bottom of a very long post, I am going to sweeten the deal and throw MY gift card into the mix as well. That means you, gentle reader, have a chance to win one of THREE $50 gift cards to Earth Fare.

So here is how the contest will work. Starting at 6:00 AM on Wednesday, May 11th and ending at 5:59:59 AM on Friday, May 13th, if you wish to throw your hat into the ring for one of these awesome gift cards, leave a comment on this blog post stating that you wish to win. If you wish to get in an extra chance at a card, share the link for this blog post on your Facebook, Twitter, blog, or other social media account (you can only earn one extra chance, regardless of how many sites you share the link on) and post that link right in your comment.

When 6:00 AM rolls around on Friday morning, I will make a list of all the names of the commenters as well as how many chances they have earned. Using Random.org, I will select three names from the list and contact those individuals to see if they are still interested in receiving a card. IF YOU LEAVE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN YOUR COMMENT, I will contact you directly. If you provided a link to your Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc. and it is easy and obvious to make contact with you, there is no need to leave an email address. If I select a contest winner with no email address or outside link listed, you will have to wait until Sunday morning at 6:00 AM when I will publish a list of all the winners. You will then have one week to contact me to claim your prize. If not, I will select another winner.

While it is always awesome when I am able to give away gift cards to encourage people to visit a new store, I do encourage you to check out Earth Fare for yourself, regardless if you win one or not. They have a hard and fast food philosophy by which they operate, have shown community involvement even before the store officially opened, and are in the business of helping to educate consumers on making smarter choices about what is going into their bodies.

Make sure to come back on Friday and read all about the second part of this Fairlawn Showcase ... and the opportunity to win more gift cards!

69 comments:

DineInDiva said...

http://www.facebook.com/dineindiva#!/dineindiva

I was there earlier in the day and the elves were still hard at work so I didn't shoot nearly as many photos, or stay very long.

Good job on negotiating the gift cards; I didn't ask and wasn't offered giveaway cards, but I did accept a personal card. Hey, I haven't worked in 6 months :-)

Mary Kay Ball said...

My husband and I are interested in buying local and buying "healthy." When we saw Tammi's blog, we were very excited. We can't wait to see the new store.

stuperfan said...

Can't wait to shop @ Earth Fare today! I signed up online back in February (way before opening day) and missed the chance for the Dinner for Four. Earth Fare emailed me this week, noted I missed the giveaway, and sent me another coupon to redeem this week! Talk about attention to detail..... they have MY attention!

Sally said...

I WISH TO WIN! I can't wait to check out the new store. Grocery shopping is my hobby. Got my coupon for a free dinner and shopping bag. Love the idea of the colored labeling for conventional, organic and local.

Sally@summitcroissants.com

Michael Hall said...

I'd love to win! I'm going up tonight to check it out - I've been waiting for it to open since we went to one in Asheville NC for vacation and saw a store there.

agourmetcupboard said...

YUM! I would love to win!
amysgourmetcupboard@gmail.com

bonnjill said...

Thanks for the heads up. I'm going to tell my sister about it. She'll be thrilled because it's close to her and her husband has celiac disease.

agourmetcupboard said...

Blogged about it!
http://wp.me/p1ji3z-6M

Kathy said...

Would love to win! The store looks fantastic! Thanks for the chance :)

CAS said...

Would love to win! Thanks.

Edsel L said...

Even though this chain is from out of state, it looks like they have a good attitude about featuring local products. I'd like to check them out first hand.

CJ said...

I WISH TO WIN!!

Looks like that camera is coming in rather handy - I like the shots!

Alicia at Poise in Parma said...

I want to win! Will share via Twitter as well. Thanks for the chance to win a great gift card.

deanna said...

I didn't even know this company existed, thanks for the write up! I would love to win to try them out! I am a huge fan of Mustard Seed so I'm looking forward to the next installment.

CGinAKR said...

I'd like to win a card. Heck, it'll be a nice challenge getting out to it by bike on Market St. You can find me on Twitter @CGinAKR

Leanne said...

Oh I would love to win. I will buy lots of sushi!! :-)

Leanne said...

http://www.facebook.com/leannewicks

And there's where I shared. :)

Mahala said...

Just got back from Earth Fare and I am wowed! It's a fabulous store. I would love to win a GC. My email: mahala475@gmail.com.

Roller Kosturs said...

I'd love to win, thanks for the giveaway. It'll give me a chance to get up to Fairlawn and check this out!
bethkostur (at) yahoo (dot) com

Lauren said...

I am super excited to check put the new store! Winning a gift card would be awesome :)

Chrissy said...

I was going to head over there today to get my free tote bag & check out the store - looks like a great place to shop... I would LOVE to win a gift card, it would make shopping there even sweeter!!!! Pick me :-)

SNewg said...

Thanks for the great description! It looks like a wonderful store. I will be going today to see for myself :)

Dj said...

I would love a giftcard. I posted a thing on my facebook, but I have a pretty locked profile. I'm not sure if you will be able to see it, but here is the link regardless. https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=505052579

Dschmitt said...

I would like a chance at the gift card. Thanks,
debora.schmitt13@yahoo.com

pinkblue said...

Would love that shopping spree.

Rebecca said...

Please pick me!! :) rlc32@zips.uakron.edu

Bob Sisler said...

I would love an Earth Fare

latanya said...

I would love to win.

dlatany@yahoo.com

addguy111 said...

Duh, winning would make me happy. addguy111@yahoo.com

Renee said...

Earth Fare looks like a great store and a nice addition to Fairlawn. The fact that they feature local products caught my immediate attention. I look forward to checking the store out the next time I'm in the area. Thanks for putting it on my radar!

Geoff L. said...

Would love to win

lisa said...

I would like to win a gift card!

Bobbi said...

I would so love a gift card! I cannot wait to explore Earth Fare!

J said...

I wish to win, Mr. Noe! :)

janbo

rshreel said...

I wish to win!

elissa_hock@yahoo.com

Kelly and José said...

Thank you very much for this informative preview! This is the first we have heard of Earth Fare.

We live in Aurora, so we are not too far from Fairlawn - we typically go to Mustard Seed (in Solon) and Whole Foods (Jose works in Beachwood, a minute or two away from the Chagrin Blvd location). It's absolutely wonderful to have another quality option.

Of course, we will be spreading the good word - and started to do so via twitter on our @KELLYandJOSE account :)

Thanks again Tom and we hope to see you around very soon!

Kelly and José said...

ps - oops, forgot to mention that "yes" we wish to win ;)

Ryan said...

I look forward to this new edition to the local food market scene. I'd love to win.

I also Tweeted about it.

http://twitter.com/#!/CLECraftBeerRun

Dave said...

Wish we could get a place like this on the westside. Sorry, not a fan of trader joe's. This is close to my sisters house so I'd make the drive to check it out.

Dave said...

I tweeted about it too

Renee said...

I WISH TO WIN! :)
reneeking6@gmail.com

Renee said...

http://www.facebook.com/#!/reneeking6

Posted to my facebook!

reneeking6@gmail.com

holly_44109 said...

Would love to win a gift card!

Mike said...

i wish to win

Birdie said...

Tweeted this post http://twitter.com/#!/anarchica/status/68501012155076608

Birdie said...

I'd like to win! This looks like a cool store, I can't wait to go explore it!

MalininGrl said...

After reading about Earthfare on Kath Eats, I'm SO excited that there's one 20 minutes away! I'd like to win!!!

sweetflutter83@gmail.com

path said...

I must check this place out soon.

Actually, you and I are due to get together soon.

For the sake of disclosing a contact method - twitter:michaelpath

-m.

florence said...

Had fun at EarthFare on opening day and even though am a non-shopper am looking fwd to returning. Would love to win the gift cards.

Duncan said...

Thanks for the great review, I am actually heading down that way in the next few days so would love to win the gift certificates. I'm all about suppporting farmers and knowing where your food comes from. I'm sharing of FB as well. Let me know at DuncanFRapp@gmail.com

GadgetGeek said...

I am living here in Atlanta. GA but I still follow your Blog faithfully. I would like to win a gift card to give them as a gift and to help the store showcase their efforts. Put my name in the hat for one of the gift cards please, help this grandad be very gracious to his kin.

Ed said...

I hope I win

happychixfarms@gmail.com

daun said...

I would love to win one of the GC to EarthFare. Stopped by on the first day but no parking ;) will check the store out another day.

Neil said...

I would like a gc please

poob12 said...

What a great way to really start eating healthy...would really like one of the cards to help my husband and I to start this...very excited about the new store!! poob12@sbcglobal.net

alwallace said...

I look forward to shopping at this store to stock up on goods when our first child arrives in June! Winning a gift card sure would be a good start:)

Becca said...

I am so happy you posted this! I was going to go today at lunch but didn't get the chance to!!! Awesome giveaway! I am so pumped :)

p.s. my email is peacelovebagels@gmail.com

Becca said...

Also, I just tweeted!!

Courtney said...

I WAAANT! I love food, so yeah.

Courtney said...

I also put on twitter, @courtmarshall

email is: courtneylynmarshall@gmail.com

Barbara said...

I'd love to win the Earthfare gift card. Thanks, Barbara

Jyll said...

I'd love to win - always looking for a reason to spend the day in that part of town.
jyllpresley@gmail.com

MC said...

I would love to win.
tecsavi@gmail.com

Annie said...

Thanks for the review. I'm hoping to stop by there over the weekend to check it out. I wouldn't mind winning a giftcard by the way. :)

Annie said...

I wish to win! I'm hoping to check out the store this weekend. Thanks for the great pics and detailed descriptions.

Tino said...

@Annie: Sorry, but the contest for the cards ended this morning at 5:59:59 AM. That being said, tomorrow I will be putting up a companion piece on Mustard Seed Market and have two gift cards to give away on that blog post, too.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Perhaps I am too late, alas! I thought I checked out your website on Wednesday, but didn't see the Earth Fare post. Missed Thursday with too many other appts. and don't check anything before 6am....kjalics@rocketmail.com just in case. I'm going to Earth Fare in about an hour. My daughter suggested I wait because she was there Wednesday and it was so wildly busy.

Alice said...

I have been here twice so far this week - I wouldn't mind winning! I think the store is great in many ways, but I will probably mostly only buy meat, cheese and wine from them...produce from the farmer's market and other stuff from a conventional grocery store. The only area where I was disappointed was their baby section... but I will definitely be back. Cheese selection was the most impressive.

Tino said...

@Alice: Sorry, but the contest for these cards ended this morning 1 second shy of 6:00 AM.

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