Jonesborough Locally Grown director Shelley Crowe said construction could last from four to six weeks, depending on the weather. Shoppers were able to grab a free hot dog or a biscuit sample alongside discounts on Saturday, the market’s last day before closing for the expansion.
The market will be closed during its slowest season, she said, and shelves that were full of products in the morning had dwindled by early afternoon as shoppers still flocked through the doors Saturday to grab one last round of local groceries.
The original proposal to double the store’s space fell through due to cost, board member Karen Childress said. While the market was able to secure $50,000 through a grant from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture last year, doubling the market space was more than the nonprofit could afford.
“We had to regroup and raise more money and see what we could do that would still serve our purposes that we could afford,” Childress said.
While grant money funded some of the project, Childress noted that the community chipped in more than half the funds required for the project through an online crowdfunding campaign.
The new plan still pushes the building forward, and will expand floor space by 30 percent, or about 450 extra square feet of space. Not only will that allow for more space for fresh produce and meat, but it will make way for more indoor tables and chairs so shoppers have the option to enjoy a hot meal inside.
Plans also include hiring a full-time kitchen manager to help bolster food sales. She said customers can also expect more prepared foods like sauces and soups to be on the shelves in the future.
“We’re not going to be set up as a restaurant, we’ll be more of a cafe where you can take food, eat it here or take it home,” Crowe said. “It also helps us promote our farmers and producers.”
Since opening in 2014, Boone Street Market has offered not only locally sourced food, but has begun offering classes in cooking and canning. Crowe said plans are to offer more classes moving forward in addition to preparing more ready-to-eat food for customers.
“Our mission is to support local food producers,” Childress said. “What we’ve found over the past four years is people really, really want to support us, but they’d also rather the food be cooked for them. So what we’re trying to do is use that same produce that’s being supplied here, and make something with it in the kitchen that people want to buy.”
Email Jessica Fuller at [email protected] Follow Jessica on Twitter @fullerjf91. Like her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jfullerJCP.