“Local is what we’re all about,” says Becky Lakin, marketing director for Dawson’s Market, the new 19,000-square foot grocery store that’s opening tomorrow in Rockville Town Square. “That’s what customers want.”
It remains to be seen how much nearby produce will be available in the dead of winter, but the 100-mile radius the store has set for its “local” designation also includes meats, cheeses, beer, wine, and other goods. There’s also a “regional” category that widens the scope to 250 miles.
The comfortable, non-intimidating store—built with LED lighting, recycled and sustainable wood and other environmentally-correct materials—is independently owned by Rick Hood, who started Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market in Richmond, Va. in 1989. Hood’s second market is named after Rockville’s Dawson family, whose 1874 farmhouse and park are on the National Historic Register.
Aside from local goods, Dawson’s will sell organic and sustainable products, as well as vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free fare, prepared foods and supplements and body care products. There’s also a salad bar, breakfast bar and coffee and juice bar. The store doesn’t carry foods with genetically-modified organisms, or those with ingredients it has banned, such as high fructose corn syrup, nitrates and artificial flavors and colorings.
Here are 10 other things to know about the new Dawson’s:
- The store created 100 new jobs.
- It offers a bulk spice section, a great idea for those who don’t want to buy a whole bottle of an infrequently-used spice for a single recipe.
- On shelf tags around the store, products are designated with 11 “integrity pins” that detail whether the item is local, regional, organic, fair trade, gluten-free and so on.
- Because Dawson’s is a specialty store and not a chain, it was able to get a wine and beer license; the state of Maryland does not permit big box or chain stores to carry alcoholic beverages. The selections are interesting; this should be a big draw.
- Bethesda Bagels changed its recipe for the bagels it will be selling at the store, using unbleached, un-bromated flour, and removing the high-fructose corn syrup from the blueberry bagels.
- Ingrid Schatz, a tiny woman who trained at Le Cordon Bleu, is the pastry chef, and she’ll be serving up a combination of indulgent, healthy and specialty baked goods, including vegan cupcakes, cakes (carrot, pineapple-upside down) and pies (apple, berry, cherry).
- An additional space may be turned into a community room in the future, offering yoga, Pilates, and meditation classes.
- The coffee, juice and smoothie bar offers a fresh organic juice called the Spirit Lifter, made with kale, apples, lemon and ginger. The Mood Changer is made with those same ingredients, plus strawberries.
- The cheese department sells a goat cheese from Sullivan Pond’s Farm in Virginia that costs $34.99 a pound.
- Tonight at Rockville Town Square, there will be a special dedication ceremony (featuring confetti-shooting cannons) at 7 p.m.; the store officially opens tomorrow, Saturday, September 29, with live music, in-store demonstrations and more.
225 N. Washington St. Rockville. See www.dawsonsmarket.com