Business & Development

New market provides a natural grocery experience

Erin Gilfillan stands in front of her local, organic produce at the Main Street Market in Springfield. Gilfillan is also the owner of Friendly Street Market in Eugene. Aliya Hall/The Creswell Chronicle

Erin Gilfillan had always loved grocery stores and grocery shopping. As soon as she could drive, she was the one doing the shopping for her family. It shouldn’t be surprising that six years agom she bought the Friendly Street Market and expanded a branch into Springfield on May 30.
”It was my dream to have an urban market that opens up onto the street, and it was perfect,” Gilfillan said of her Springfield location on downtown Main Street. ”It was a big, open slate that I could do whatever I wanted to.”
The market, aptly named the Main Street Market, wasn’t an intentional business move, Gilfillan said. She said that everything was going well at her location on Friendly Street when a friend of hers recommended the space. She wasn’t looking for anything, but decided to stop by and fell in love with the building. After scouting the area and realizing there wasn’t another specialty natural food market in the city, she knew there was a need.
The Main Street Market offers all basic grocery needs, including produce, dairy, frozen items, snacks and bread, but leans toward a natural focus; however, the shop carries a full selection of generic brands too.
Gilfillan’s intention with both stores is to make them community-oriented. She saw that people in those areas wanted a walking community where they could run into neighbors, and she wanted to create a space that was part of residents’ everyday walk.
”I wanted to be part of that and create more of an urban walking community,” she explained.
Everything in the shop is sourced as locally as possible, with produce coming from farms within the area. Gilfillan said that in opening the Springfield location, their goal was to have as high-quality produce as Sundance Natural Foods in Eugene, ”and we’re there (in Springfield),” she said, adding that even if it’s not certified organic, the farming is done using organic methods.
”Neighborhood people have come in who have foraged and found chanterelles and if they’re real and we trust the person, we’ve bought them,” she added. ”We’re open to all of it.”
Most of the challenges and learning curves Gilfillan has faced happened six years ago with the Friendly Street Market. Even though she had business and food experience, she didn’t know how to run a shop before opening that market, and said that from day one at Friendly she was learning.
She said that coming from the outside, she was able to break the rules and discover new ways of doing things. With the Main Street Market, she was able to take that expertise and apply it.
In the future, Gilfillan isn’t opposed to opening a third market, but at this point she is happy with these two projects and isn’t looking to continue expansion.
Although it’s only been open a little over a month, Gilfillan said the most rewarding aspect has been the customer feedback, ”hearing customers get excited about it,” she said, adding that she works in an open-air office above the store and has heard comments from customers as they shop.
”I’ve heard only good things: ‘The pricing is good’ or ‘I love this product’ or ‘They have everything I want,’” she said. ”Nothing but good comments, which has been huge.”



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