You can’t miss the bright blue “Buy Fresh Buy Local” sign, or rather, wall outside of City Feed & Supply in Jamaica Plain. This sentiment isn’t limited to City Feed, with their fresh produce, local craft beer and homemade sandwiches. This is a motto used throughout the entire vibrant neighborhood. David Warner, the owner of City Feed, set up his shop in the late 1990s. Today, it is an iconic part of the Jamaica Plain landscape. Thanksgiving will be here before we know it, which means that David is busy placing orders for Vermont-grown turkeys, helping customers choose the best cheese, and making sandwiches to keep people satiated before the big meal. We were lucky enough to get a few minutes of his time to see how City Feed & Supply has come to be.
Let’s start with the basics- what’s the story behind City Feed & Supply? How did it begin?
City Feed and Supply began with this simple question, “wouldn’t it be great if the corner store in our neighborhood had food you actually wanted to eat, and a good cup of coffee?” At the time, my wife and co-founder, Kristine Cortese, and I were living about a block from an old neighborhood store that had gone out of business and this is the question that Kristine asked out loud one day. I am a sucker for good ideas and so I started doing research to find out what it would take to rent the space and start a business that could answer that question affirmatively. About a year later, we opened our doors for the first time with a store full of food you actually would want to eat and a damn good cup of Equal Exchange coffee.
What makes City Feed & Supply special?
The short answer is that we are a unique hybrid of a full service grocery, café and deli on a pedestrian-friendly scale.
But the better answer, or what makes City Feed special for me and Kristine is that it gives us the ability to work in our neighborhood, serving our neighbors, and the community connection that comes with that has enriched our lives more than the dollar profits of the business ever could.
What’s the best part about owning a local business?
See previous answer! I think owning a local business gives you a greater opportunity to connect with your community than any other vocation I can imagine.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, which means customers are stocking up for their dinner menus. How can City Feed & Supply help with the holiday prep?
We can help with your holiday prep in a number of ways, whether it is pre-ordering that Vermont-grown turkey, keeping caffeinated through your long days of cooking, sending your guests out for lunch while you prep the big feast, or just picking up that pint of heavy cream you need at the last minute. We are taking pre-orders for turkeys, wine, beer, cider and cheese now through November 16th, and we will be open for the first half of the day on Thanksgiving for your last minute recipe needs.
What is it about Jamaica Plain that makes it great?
Where do I begin?!? Part of what makes this neighborhood great is its diversity of folks of all walks of life, and with that comes a diversity of opinions about what makes it great!
Beyond the diversity of folks, I love the variety of green space, with the Arboretum, Franklin Park and Jamaica Pond all within walking distance. Last but not least, there is a combination of creative and community spirit here that energizes me every day.
Why does City Feed & Supply like working with Nift?
Nift has been a great opportunity for City Feed because it not only has given us a unique tool for building and strengthening ties between our customers, ourselves and other local businesses, but it also provides great data to show how it works. So often marketing efforts are put out with a prayer and efficacy is measured with a hunch. With Nift, you can actually measure how well it works!
In your free time, what other local businesses do you enjoy visiting?
What free time? Actually, working in a neighborhood with such a strong local business community like this makes it convenient to patronize our great neighbors. Kristine and I will often step out for lunch (our sandwiches and salads are the best, but sometimes you need a break!) to Café Beirut or Centre Street Café. When we are short on time because our son has an after school lesson at JP Taekwondo or Tony Williams Dance, we will often get a quick meal to go from Purple Cactus or Bella Luna. When we need to pick up a birthday party gift (or our son’s allowance is burning a hole in his pocket) Boing is right there for us. Kitchenwitch is our go to for home cooking gadgetry and Yumont Hardware is a regular stop for all our miscellaneous household needs. More than half of my wardrobe is from Boomerangs. When we get a break on a Saturday, we love to check out the Egleston Farmer’s Market. And when we are worn out from all of the above, JP Family Acupuncture, right up the street from our home, helps us reset our energy and maintain our health. This might actually be the hardest question to answer, only because I could go on forever!
The weekend before Thanksgiving, November 18-20, City Feed & Supply will be handing out neighborhood gifts – Nifts – to all customers. Stop by for your last minute Thanksgiving fixings, a breakfast sandwich, or a great cup of coffee. Their hours are: Friday 6AM – 10PM, Saturday 7AM – 10PM, and Sunday 8AM – 8PM.