Rabbit Food Grocery has been busier than ever since the coronavirus pandemic struck, says co-owner Jessica Morris, who opened the store in 2012.
Morris says that customers previously came to the store at 2425 Exposition Blvd. for the specialty vegan items they offered, but not the fresh produce or pantry staples. "We never sold dry beans or rice, and now we go through a case every three days," she says.
Several notable vegan eateries are now selling some of their products at Rabbit Food Grocery. Arlo's is selling ready-to-cook versions of its popular vegan burgers, "bacon" and mac-and-cheese in the frozen section, and Possum Pizza is making take-and-bake versions of its pizza. Morris says both businesses had never sold their products directly to customers through a retail outlet but plan continue to do so even after the pandemic is over.
The store has also added grab-and-go meals from vegan eateries including Bistro Vonish, Bruja’s Brew and Counter Culture, who have been closed during the shelter-in-place order. When Vegg Catering’s weddings and events canceled, they started making family meals that are now available at the Tarrytown grocer, too.
The store also sells baked goods from local bakeries Capital City Bakery, Celestes Best and Happy Vegan Baker, which all usually sell coffee shops and restaurants.
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Morris says they only let four people in at a time to comply with physical distancing guidelines, but that creates a calm shopping environment. The best days to shop are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, she says. They get fresh produce delivered on Wednesdays, she says, and partner companies are making deliveries every day.
"It’s honestly been amazing," she says. "The entire vegan community has come together to try to keep these businesses afloat."
Morris says she hopes to soon start carrying even more products from local restaurants, such as Bouldin Creek breakfast or Beer Plant barbecue sauce. Morris is considering adding in-house delivery, but for now, people can place orders online for pick-up.
"Every day I try to look at the bright side," she says. "I think this is going to change how people grocery shop in the future. It won't be as crazy, but people are going to want to get delivery and curbside more in general."