PIQUA — From candy to dried vegetables, the bulk foods store Harvest Pantry, 325 N. Main St., is there to fill a need in Piqua, with over 500 products. Harvest Pantry has been open for approximately two weeks, and owner Lisa Dotson said that the community response has been “very good.”
“Right now, it’s just word of mouth that people are coming in,” Dotson said in an interview on Thursday.
“Word of mouth” appears to be doing well for the business with a constant stream of customers on Thursday afternoon, exploring the multitude of items on the shelves or standing in line at the deli for the popular Buffalo Turkey.
“We’ve had a great response,” Dotson said. “Lots of local people, lots of out of town people.”
Dotson owns Harvest Pantry with her husband, Rod. Prior to the business, her husband worked as a top-level executive. Lisa Dotson still works at Edison Community College as an Academic Project Specialist for Health Sciences and has no plans to leave her position there. The Dotsons are both lifelong residents of Piqua.
“I have bought bulk for years and that’s how this kind of evolved,” Dotson said. “Piqua didn’t have a bulk foods store.” They were not able to find the kind of quality that they were looking for, so they decided to open their own shop.
“We’ve always wanted to be a small business owner,” Dotson said.
The building that Harvest Pantry is located in on Main Street was originally built in the 1870s. The Dotsons purchased the building in May, spending approximately three months renovating the property.
“We uncovered some really great finds,” Dotson said. Those include the original tin ceiling as well as the exposed brick walls in the main store area. The brick walls were buried under drywall and plaster, Dotson said.
When it comes to their products, the fact that they are a bulk foods store makes them able to offer their customers lower prices and more convenience while shopping.
“I purchase items in large quantities, in bulk, and repackage it based on what the customer needs,” Dotson said. “We are essentially saving the customer money because not everybody wants 20 pounds of something.”
Dotson explained when they go through this process of buying in bulk, repackaging, and reselling, customers are not wasting money on a quantity that they are never going to use or that will go bad before they are able to use all of the product.
“That’s the beauty of buying bulk,” Dotson said.
They are also able to accommodate requests for products in different quantities. If the container on the shelf is not the right amount that the customer needs for that product, the customer can put in a request for a different size.
“And that can vary from all the different products we have,” Dotson said. “From candy to snacks to grains, flours. Any of that.”
The quality of their products, along with a customer-friendly atmosphere, is the focus for their business. Customers can also shop before they shop by checking out Harvest Pantry’s website at www.harvestpantrywholefoods.com, which provides a picture, the description, and the nutritional value of each item.
“It’s an easy reference for lots of people,” Dotson said. “Our website is very user-friendly.”
Harvest Pantry also offers a deli with meats and cheeses, along with a section with fresh eggs and butter, all of which is locally sourced from Holmes County, also known as Amish Country.
“It’s quality, very good meat,” Dotson said.
While they do have a variety of candy and sweets, Harvest Pantry is also able to interact with the growing health trend. They provide items that are organic, gluten-free, and sugar-free.
“Everything that you see in here is fresh,” Dotson said.
Dotson also thanked the downtown area, Mainstreet Piqua, and the city of Piqua for being so supportive of their business.
“They have been very willing to help us in any way,” Dotson said.
Harvest Pantry’s hours are Mondays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. They are closed on Sundays.
Harvest Pantry can be contacted at 937-916-4202.
Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall