BECAUSE IT’S IMPORTANT & BECAUSE THE RIVERSIDE FARMERS’ MARKET TOLD YOU TO
While the neighborhood grocery store isn’t the first thing that jumps to mind when we think of farmers’ markets, we think Riverside Foods is a great fit for our uniquely Riverside market.
We asked Riverside Foods co-owner Peter Boutsikakis about his store and his participation in the Riverside Farmers’ Market.
Is Riverside Foods a family business? Tell us a little about the store.
Riverside Foods has been a family business ever since my grandfather, Anthony Garbis, opened up in 1981. Longtime locals may already know that this location used to be a Jewel. Most grocery stores used to be more neighborhood size back then, but have since gone the way of the “big box.” More recently, it’s nice to see trends returning to the neighborhood size store, in addition to “big box” shopping. Since my grandfather opened, both my mother and father have owned and operated this location throughout the years. Now, I currently own and operate our family grocery store along with my uncle Jerry Garbis. It’s an intricate and enjoyable mix of family and business.
Most people don’t think of finding grocery stores represented at their local farmers’ market. Tell us about what you bring to our market, and why it all fits so well.
I love being able to set-up at the Farmer’s Market. For us, it’s just a great opportunity to get out and participate with the community by bringing great local artisan products to Riverside. The biggest advantage we get is being able to talk with people at the Farmer’s Market, and let them know about our store, our local products, our always expanding organic offerings, and other specialty products.
Particularly in the last two years, we have made tremendous strides in moving our store toward a more unique, specialty neighborhood market, driven by quality, customer service and community. Currently I am only able to setup once a month. I focus on craft beer, ciders, wines and spirits, but am planning toward more participation next year. I currently have two of our employees enrolled in an entry level craft beer certification course, so that by next year, they’ll be seasoned beer geeks and will be able to help me present great craft booze at the Farmer’s Market on a more regular basis.
Tell us about a few of the products you’re partnering with this year.
This year has been exciting. I like to look at the Farmer’s Market as an opportunity to further partner with good, local vendors that we already have relationships with. This year we’ve partnered with Quincy Street Distillery from Riverside, Filbert’s Soda from Chicago, Finch’s craft beer from Chicago, and Uncle John’s Ciders and Greenbush Brewery from Michigan … And there will be more to come. In our store we offer great products from great vendors every single day, but the Farmer’s Market provides a venue to get the word out and do something fun with some of the beer, wine and liquor vendors I particularly like.
After all, somebody has to bring the good booze!
Riverside Foods returns to the RFM August 7.