Now for an idea whose time has truly come: a healthy convenience store chain. Called Green Zebra, this one is based in (where else?) Portland, Oregon. Instead of hot dogs and Slurpees, you'll find freshly made sandwiches, organic soups and salads, grass-fed steaks, and (this being Portland) Stumptown coffee and local microbrews. The first store opens any day now in the Kenton neighborhood and I'm eager to check it out.
Co-founder Lisa Sedlar, the former CEO at Portland's beloved New Seasons grocery, believes that city dwellers should live in a "20-minute neighborhood." That is, everything you need—bank, school, library, healthy food, parks—should be within a 20 minute walk or bike-ride. As such, the stores—which will be 5,000 square-feet—will each have a walk-up window where bikers or walkers can order groceries or deli food without even walking into the store. (A staffer will do your shopping for you, delivering it to the window.) This came out of research that Sedlar and co-founder Shannon Hiller-Webb did about how to make shopping more convenient for moms and bicyclists. "Sometimes it takes 20 minutes to take the kid in and out of the car," says Hiller-Webb, laughing. "So we thought if they could keep the kid in the car and walk up to the window and get a few items for dinner, that'd be great."
I have a short piece about Green Zebra in the 2nd issue of Modern Farmer (pg. 85). (You can pick up Modern Farmer at any Whole Foods).