Joshua Coleman (left) and Braden Govoni. Photo by Brooke Marsh
Braden Govoni and Joshua Coleman are putting a spin on the neighborhood grocery concept in Westover Hills.
The duo has merged a bike shop with a locally sourced food grocery in their store, Outpost Richmond, a 5,200-square-foot space at 4813 Forest Hill Ave. As avid bike commuters and advocates of healthy food, their idea was born from the desire for all things local and convenient. They think it’ll change the way people shop.
“I’m terrible at planning meals,” says Coleman. “I’m the kind of guy who goes into a store, grabs some bread, veggies and meat, and that’s my meal for the night. We hope to serve that kind of customer.”
They opened in November.
“A vast majority of our initial customers have come from this neighborhood or two miles out,” says Govoni. “Sometimes they’re in here for the bikes, and then they’re like, ‘Wow, hummus and crackers, too.’ Other times, they’re not bike riders at all. But everyone’s excited about the convenience factor.”
Govoni, 38, was a founding partner of Carytown Bicycle Company. He didn’t know much about managing perishable goods, but 25 year-old Coleman brings expertise from his time at Harvest Grocery in the Fan.
They know it will be a challenge to get the same shoppers in the door three or four times a week. Yet Govoni and Coleman believe people are tired of huge floor plans, endless aisles, impersonal customer service and parking lot dramas that can come with shopping larger retailers.
Outpost offers local goods and finely tuned customer service. They carry products from Victory Farms, Old Church Creamery and Belmont Butchery. There are also some national brands, including Amy’s canned soup and Yogi teas, and wine and beer. Coleman says they will add items from other local companies.
Four staff are on hand, trained to toggle between the bike and grocery sides of the business.
“We’re out here to provide life basics,” says Coleman. “Transportation and ingredients.”