I missed last week. I actually wrote the “note from Julia” portion of last week’s newsletter (now handily partially repurposed here!), but was too overwhelmed by the prospect of our first ever delivery from a national grocery distributor to finish it all up and send it off. Plus, this time last week, still awaiting that delivery, I was holding my breath wondering if it would actually happen, if something might go terribly wrong, if everything we ordered would be out of stock…I was way too nervous to actually try to promote anything, but also too obsessed with what was happening to be able to think or write about anything else.
Happily, it all went off without a hitch. Everything (well, almost everything) arrived Wednesday morning, and we were able to get all the new products on the shelves before opening. Well, almost all the new products – we’re pretty short on shelf space, so you’ll see (or saw, last week) some more red “Clearance” tags throughout the store as we work to make space for things we hope you’ll like even more. (Not that you won’t or shouldn’t like the marked down items! I hope you’ll consider helping us clear that space, and get some great deals on last-chance items while you’re at it!)
Most of the new items are tagged as such, and most (not all) are on sale at 10% off for the month of February. This is thanks to a combo of “placement deals” from vendors where our first case of a product is discounted as an incentive to bring it in – and partly as our incentive to you to try to some of these new things! You’ll also find some yellow “Price Drop” tags here and there – products that were already part of our line up but are available at a lower price through the distributor than they were through our previous channels.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, it wasn’t all that long ago – maybe just a year or so – that I might have told you that would never work with a national distributor. We’re always evolving! When we launched Further Afield, of course I started to re-think that.
The fact is that there are many brands we’re working with that aren’t available through the big distributors – and that will remain true – and several that offer better pricing when we work with them directly – we’ll stick with them, too. And, of course, we’ll always be locally-focused, and that’s where a national distributor really doesn’t make sense. But there are also products we just couldn’t get our hands on or where the distributor does offer lower pricing, and so when we became confident we’d be able to not just meet distributor order minimums but also be able to qualify for a “volume level discount”, at that point it made sense to take the plunge.
Below are some pictures of a few of the new items I’m most excited about – from mundane mayonnaise (which happens to be the best organic mayo I’ve tasted, and I sampled a lot before settling on one) to the more interesting fresh-packed organic pepperoncini I still haven’t tried. I’m also stoked to swap in some better values on things like canned tomatoes and canned beans.
Radish & Rye is always evolving – keeps life interesting! – but where I see us now is as a place to get the highlights of the meal – the fresh, seasonal produce, the succulent pasture-raised pork chop, the housemade lasagna – and the underpinnings – the rice and beans, the tinned sardines priced more for a quick lunch than a Brooklyn wine bar (though I want those, too!), the mayo that goes on that fresh sourdough bread. The Fair Trade organic avocado and the chips to dip in the guac you make with it.
Radish & Rye really started as an off-shoot of our desire to get the food we personally wanted in a convenient way, and help others do that same. We keep evolving, but that core remains the same.
I hope you’ll enjoy our new offerings as they roll out across the coming weeks, and, as always, please tell us what you’d like to see! And remember, those clearance deals are only good while supplies last – never has there been a better time to shop early and often.
P.S. A fun thing about the distributor that I didn’t realize was going to be a thing is that they have a near-constant stream of deals going. We’ve always adjusted our pricing on seasonal items according to the market rate (ie, awesome deals at peak season, less so on the edges of the season), but we’ve never really done “sales”. Many of the big deals through the distributor require ordering a couple of months in advance, so this might be a slow ramp up, but I’m pretty excited about being able to pass these deals on to you!