Stockbox Neighborhood Grocers isn't changing its name - in fact, the project to bring fresh, affordable food to under-served urban neighborhoods recently redid its logo as a way of strengthening its brand identity. But its first permanent location is considerably less boxy than its prototype.
Winner of the 2012 Voracious Tasting Award for innovation, Stockbox is readying to open its first store tomorrow in South Park's main business district. The company last year operated a trial store out of a converted security trailer in Delridge, but has since expanded its business plan to include retrofitted store fronts as well as mobile units.
Although the founders' original reclaimed shipping container concept garnered plenty of press attention, co-founder Carrie Ferrence says neighbors don't mind a more traditional venue, or the added 340 square feet of space.
"We released a very official announcement about the shift when we realized we'd have to work in both (spaces), but nobody seemed disappointed per se," Ferrence says. "It speaks to the value of the store. It's not just about shipping containers."
The new store will carry many of the kitchen staples which proved popular in the Delridge location, although the inventory's been adjusted to include more fresh fruits and vegetables; milk and "grab-and-go options." And if customers don't want to go after grabbing, the South Park store features a customer seating area.
Ferrence says the store's layout was devised to make community members comfortable; a new set of icons will help non-English speakers find items easily, she adds.
"We really put a lot of thought into getting people excited about food," she says.
The store at 8520 14th Ave. South will be open every day from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Stockbox celebrates its grand opening on Aug. 25, but Ferrence says there will be "a few bells and whistles" beforehand.