::Capital City Grocery To Reopen In June
Special Feature From The Raleigh Downtowner
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
RALEIGH - Many downtown residents have been curious about what's been happening to Capital City Grocery in the downtown Raleigh Seaboard Station shopping center.
One of the downtown area's only independently owned grocery stores, Capital City Grocery opened last year and then closed this spring when the business went heavily into debt.
Despite a shaky start and temporary closing for renovations and reorganization, the future now looks bright, with a grand reopening scheduled sometime in June.
Originally charged with finding new investors, Ed Weems and son Mason of Venture Management, Inc., ended up becoming part owners along with other investors.
The original owners and management will no longer be involved with the new store.
The new Capital City Grocery is reaching out to the community and once again asking the local residents of downtown Raleigh what they want their store to offer, look like, act like, and feel like.
The new owners say they are hoping to model the newly redesigned store after a downtown grocery store chain that was started in the early 1900's.
In 1937, some 70 years ago, Ela Newton began selling snacks in downtown Raleigh in the same neighborhood as Capital City Grocery. While the offerings were limited, she provided the residents of then-dirt Halifax Street with what they wanted. As her customer needs changed her selections expanded and her husband John William, a retired farmer, began helping her serve them.
Over the years the store expanded into four Halifax street locations. Soon sons, grandsons and granddaughters were all working there while attending high school and college.
For 63 years, Newton's provided basic grocery items, custom-cut meats and fresh vegetables. Grocery deliveries were made first on bicycles then scooters and finally in pick up trucks. Starting with rotisserie chicken, the Newton family responded to customer wants by serving meals in the store and providing take home food.
Customers from all walks of life were each given the same friendly courteous service and became regulars for years. This tradition continued until the last location at Peace and Halifax streets was sold to Peace College in recent years.
The new owners say they are committed to being like Newton's where its patrons want to shop again and again, returning to the Newton family grocery store philosophy of good old-fashioned customer service.
They are consulting with the Newton family on how best to provide the highest level of customer service to their shoppers. They're also using old family and business photos of the Newton's stores to decorate the previously vacant grocery store walls to pay homage to the Newton's many years of community involvement.
Plans for the new Capital City Grocery include expanding produce offerings with an emphasis on locally grown and especially organic vegetables. Like Newton's, they will offer custom cut high-end meats and very fresh seafood as well as items already prepared for those in a hurry.
The Capital City grocery section is being redesigned to carry dry goods, bulk foods, the spices and flavorings even the best cooks strive for, and a "It Begins With Caring" healthy foods section for pets.
To the wine offerings they're adding fresh flowers and gift baskets. Once again many products are local and organic just like the customers asked for in the past.
The "Capital City Kitchen" will be offering sit down fare as well as full course meals to take home and enjoy with little effort. They're also adding a new important convenience that is fully in tune with the downtown Raleigh market.
The new owners say a full catering for private parties and business events is being offered under the leadership of a highly experienced trained chef.
Capital City Grocery is also retuning to that 70-year old Newton tradition of call-in ordering. But rather than giving an order on the phone as a Newton family member wrote each item down, shoppers will be able to place orders over the internet or by faxing them in.
Repeat customers will be also able to pull up their record of regular purchases on the website and indicate how many of each they want to reorder.
Seventy years ago the residents of Raleigh were downtown. Today they're returning in droves.
Just like Newton's, the new Capital City Grocery promises to return to the roots of customer service to meet their neighbors' needs. ::