A growing market and interest in locally-sourced food, organic food and knowing where your food comes from has Garry Kuneman expanding his business, adding a new location and bringing new products to customers.
Kuneman, who worked the farmer's market circuit for 10 years, opened his Natural Food Local Express
in Plymouth in July 2010. It didn't take him long to see that demand would lead to a second location.
The new store will open Dec. 1 at 6870 Telegraph Road. The company will take on a new name, Pure Pastures, with one location becoming Pure Pastures East and the other Pure Pastures West.
The name change is more of a reflection of the core business, says Kuneman. That is to sell meat, eggs and other products from Michigan farmers.
Except for air-chilled chicken, a European style of chicken preparation that's become popular since an endorsement from Dr. Mehmet Oz, and a portion of buffalo, another popular product, everything comes from Michigan. Local eggs that come from chickens that aren't caged and eat no soy or GMOs are a top seller. Kuneman will add more national products when he brings in more organic and gluten-free foods, he says.
Kuneman's start with farmers' markets and home deliveries are still a part of the operations. He plans to expand home delivery and product offerings and hire 3-4 new employees when the new store opens. Currently, there are four employees.
"The farmers markets helped me get a handle on the kind of products I wanted to carry. And it helped me build a customer base," he says. "There are several segments of the population we pull from: special diets, people who want to know what's in their food and some are concerned about the humane treatment of animals. It's a little pricier, but people are willing to pay to know what they're getting, to support Michigan."
Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Garry Kuneman, owner, Natural Food Local Express, the future Pure Pastures