If you're on the lookout for a place that combines the familiar, good old days with the modern tech-savvy world, you'll find it at Grow, the Produce Shop.
Located in the center of Manhattan Beach, the friendly mom-and-pop store is an oasis sitting parallel to the busy traffic of Sepulveda Boulevard. Grow aims to be a fresher, better—yet also comparatively affordable—alternative to the big supermarkets.
Without the sliding glass doors and large illuminated signs usually found at supermarkets, Grow could easily go unnoticed by the casual passerby. The storefront may be ambiguous, but the interior features fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, dairy products, meats, seafood and other grocery items. Handmade price placards, only three aisles of produce and fruits, a single glass display of meats and seafood, one wall of vegetables and almost no sign of national name-brand products help create an intimate, corner market feel.
Grow also aims to set itself apart from other markets by bringing back the experience of the old days when fresh fruits and meats came directly from farms. The store deals directly with producers, including Deer Creek Heights Ranch, Driscoll's Kingsburg Orchards, Orchard View and Cowgirl Creamery.
While produce at supermarkets often arrives at the tail-end of an extensive packaging and delivery process that limits freshness, Grow's fruits and vegetables are delivered directly from regional farms. The store's meats come from free-range animals raised on a strict vegetarian diet that is 100 percent natural.
"Our number one mission is to get people the absolute best food, meats, produce and cheeses every day," general manager Josh Harrison said.
Customers are noticing Grow's efforts.
"Apples are juicier and more crispy, and the prices are comparable to other stores," Jean Fontana said. She and her husband have been shopping at Grow for more than a year. "We think the food here is fresh and the quality is great, which is not seen elsewhere."
Nearby merchants agree. "When I want the best fruits, I go to them," said Jeff Blair, general manager of shoe store Village Runner, which is two shops down from Grow. "They are the greatest, and there is no compromise."
Although the average Manhattan Beach resident would most likely agree with Blair, someone on a budget might think otherwise. Putting Grow's price claim to the test, Patch compared five similar items from Grow and the Vons supermarket along Manhattan Beach Boulevard.*
- Fuji apples: $2.49/lb at Grow and $1.99/ lb at Vons
- Bananas (non-organic) $0.99/lb at Grow and $ 0.77/lb at Vons
- Iceberg lettuce: $1.49/head at Grow and 2 for $1 at Vons
- Red onion $1.99/lb at Grow and $1.49/ at Vons
- Dozen organic eggs $5.99 at Grow and $3 at Vons
The total price for these items was $12.95 at Grow and $7.75 at Vons. Some shoppers may find Grow's quality higher and be willing to pay a premium, while others may determine that the increased cost isn't worth it.
For those shoppers who do prefer Grow, the market offers an online delivery service to the Manhattan, Hermosa and North Redondo Beach areas. To shop, click here. Unlike supermarkets such as Safeway that charge $6.95 to $12.95 for delivery, Grow charges a $5 flat packaging fee. An order placed before 8 p.m. will be delivered by 7 a.m. the next day, Monday to Friday.
Grow also hopes to play a key role in the local community. "Our vision is to make Grow pivotal in the community and thriving in it," Harrison said.
To help facilitate that, Grow sponsors many South Bay community groups including the Martyrs Parish Fair, Lung Cancer Walk for Hope, Meadows Student Run, Robinson 5k Race, Sandpiper Home Tour, Sandpiper Fashion Show, Wellness Community and Working Women Wardrobe.
Grow is located at 1830 N. Sepulveda Boulevard in Manhattan Beach. Store hours are 9 a.m. - 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. on Saturday, and 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Sunday. For more information call 310-545-2904, or visit the store's Web site.
*Please note: Prices were compared April 7 and are subject to change.