including hibiscus, chocolate covered honeycomb, chocolate covered
banana chips, dark chocolate burnt caramel almonds, and even chocolate covered gummy bears.
There are uncoated gummy bears too.
“Anytime we can find something that is the organic or natural coun-
terpart we will replace it,” Shemirani says. “We used to have traditional
gummy bears that were neon green, turquoise and other colors that do
not exist in nature. We found these that are colored with red cabbage
dye and beet juice. So we replaced them, and there was an uproar like
you would not believe. People wanted their old gummy bears. But we
had to stick to our mission, which was going toward natural and organic.
We called it Gummy Gate. We never introduced the traditional gummy
bears in our Alpine store or here, and people have said these are the best
gummy bears that they’ve ever had.”
The next aisle under the Ceiling Runway contains two dozen large
stainless steel urns. Each is filled with a specialty olive oil or balsamic
vinegar with little cups and slices of bread for tasting. The corresponding
filled bottles are merchandised next to the respective urn, at an adjacent
round table and up front in the cooking oil set.
“As far as I know, we are the only store in California with this,”
Shemirani says. “It has been such a hit we are going to be putting it
into all of our other stores.
The neighboring soup bar has also been getting raves. Soups are
custom-made by a local supplier, delivered daily and merchandised
from a self-service circular fixture. Plexiglas bins on top merchandise artisan dinner rolls for 49-cents each.
“The soup bar is a big hit,” Shemirani says. “If we changed our
name to Barons Soup Store our sales would probably double. We
have people from Boston commenting on our clam chowder. That is
a huge compliment.”
At $5.99 a pound, the salad bar is a smash hit too. Unusual items
include baked tofu, real bacon, mini sweet peppers and edame and
salami slices. “People often buy their pizza toppings here. They then
buy some pizza dough and a jar of sauce and make their own pizzas.
This way you just get as much as you need and it doesn’t weigh a lot,”
Barons Market’s meat/seafood/deli department, along the right
wall, is small when compared to conventional competitors, Shemirani
admits. There is no service case; lunchmeats from Applegate Farms
dangle from peg hooks and sandwiches ($2.99 for a half) made with
Boar’s Head meats and local artisan bread are made and packaged in
the backroom. A limited selection of meats, mainly steaks, ground
beef and oven-ready roasts, are available in Cryovac packaging, as
well as Rocky and Rosie brands of chicken. “We don’t have a butcher,
so all of this comes from a local meat company,” Shemirani says.
“They distribute to restaurants, and we are their only retail account.
Our prices are a little higher, but the quality is definitely there.”
Fresh seafood is packaged salmon and tilapia, although a much
broader assortment is available in the freezer case.
The Barons Kitchen demonstration area occupies a key area at the
end of the Ceiling Runway. A store associate prepares and samples
three dishes, sometimes an item from the antipasto or olive bar, but
usually something prepared in-house using a handful of ingredients.
Shoppers are given the samples in a decent-size two-ounce cup.
Stainless steel urns filled with olive oils and fancy balsamic vinegars allow
shoppers to sample before they buy, says Rachel Shemirani, vice president,
marketing at Barons Market.
Call: (800) 229-2233
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