Sat, May 25, 2024

Pickup meal market opens in the CSRA

The tree-lined street is quaint, filled with houses built in the 1930’s and 40’s. The neighborhood has been repurposed and now, businesses line the streets of West Avenue in North Augusta, including a realtor’s office, a staffing agency, a hair salon, and a boutique. They support each other, including their newest neighbor, West Avenue Market.

“From opening in late October until now, our customers have been great. They love the concept of coming in and picking up a freshly cooked meal and the convenience of taking it home and popping it right in the oven,” explained Baylee Pruitt, the niece of owners, Michael and Kathy Webb, who helps with inventory and customer service.

Customer motivation for a healthy quick fix is the same reason the Webbs started the market at 512 West Avenue. Raising four kids and working full time cut into family dinner time. The ready-made meals they offer solve that challenge for them and apparently, many other families.

West Avenue Market utilizes a network of locally sourced food, including Beamie’s at the River, Pies & Sides, Honey from the Rock, What’s Cooking Downtown Aiken, Blue Collard, Cotton Bug Bakery, and other local companies. Their coolers are stocked with casseroles, sandwich spreads, salads, and desserts.

The timing for the new business couldn’t be better. The era of instant gratification is intensifying with a huge boom expected in the coming year for prepackaged meals in grocery stores.

The 2023 Supermarket News Fresh Food Trends Survey found that 65 percent of grocery stores will increase their assortment of prepared foods with almost half committing more space to prepackaged meals.

Not too far away from West Avenue Market, are three major grocery stores, including Publix, Kroger, and Aldi. While all three will likely join the bandwagon to offer prepackaged meals, the local market may have something special that would be difficult to replicate.

West Avenue Market also has several stocking stuffer options for those last-minute gifts.

“In just a few weeks, we have had repeat customers that we know by name. Some are shopping for their families. Others come in to get a pie or casserole for a sick neighbor. We hear those stories and can follow up with them personally.”

Remember the cozy neighborhood bar, Cheers, which was the basis for a long-running TV series? The show featured a great cast where everyone knew your name. Aside from the cozy atmosphere and great selection of take-home dishes, the folks at West Avenue Market will remember your name. In today’s world, that may be a recipe for success.

The hours for West Avenue Market are Monday through Saturday, from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm. You can also visit their Facebook page.

Editor’s Note:
Mitzi Oxford is a veteran broadcaster and features writer who also worked at the same television station in Columbus, Georgia as Augusta’s Brad Means! If you have a South Carolina story idea for Mitzi, please email her at mitzioxfordcreative@gmail.com.

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