By Shaun Tilghman
When Manchester Marketplace (137 E. Main St.) opened for business in December 2012, owner Gary Long’s goal was to provide the local community with good products at good prices. Now, just a year and a half later, he has taken that goal one step further by expanding the bulk food & discount grocery store to include a fresh deli section.
“We opened Manchester Marketplace on Dec. 15, 2012, and on Feb. 27, 2014, we expanded and added the deli,” said Long. “It’s something we’ve been trying to do for a while now and we’ve been looking forward to offering this to the people of North Manchester and surrounding communities. It’s going really well and I’m excited about the products – we’ve gotten really good compliments so far.”
Basically, they’re just striving to continue in their effort to offer good products at good prices, according to Long.
“We even have several products in our deli that are gluten-free and have no MSG,” he added.
“Not all of our products are like that, but several of them are,” Long continued. “Right now, we have two hams that are, as well as three of our turkeys, including the Cajun, which also has no nitrites and is raised with no antibiotics or growth hormones. So, these are really good products and they’re really helping the deli take off.
“In terms of the cheeses, there are some different labels now than what we carried before, but they’re still quality cheeses at fair prices. What we’ve done is, we’ve gone with a different distributor, and even though the labels might be different, a lot of the cheeses are still pretty much the same as we had been offering. Also, we were only able to sell the chunks or horns of cheese before, but now we’re able to sell it in slices as well.”
Long went on to explain that, while the availability of fresh, sliced meats and cheeses has drawn customers to the deli, several other products have been the biggest hits.
“The kicker of the whole thing would probably be our locally made salads,” he said, “which include chicken salad, ham salad, macaroni salad, potato salad, etc. We’ve been going through a lot of those items because they are just so good.
“We plan to take orders for large parties, such as graduation parties, family get-togethers, etc. However, our hope is that people will contact us a week or more in advance to place orders so that we can be sure to have enough of those products available. Typically, we try to order those products in the quantities that we think we’ll need for the week, which keeps our overhead low while helping to ensure that they are as fresh as possible; but, that also means we don’t have a lot of those products in the back.”
When asked why they waited two months to push their new addition, Long was quick to admit that an adjustment period was necessary.
“To be honest, when we first started offering the deli items, it was going so well that we got a little overwhelmed,” he explained. “But, now we’ve had time to take a deep breath and get used to things, so we’re ready to spread the word. We really hope to make people aware of the deli and to get them interested in our products.”
Manchester Marketplace is open Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The deli shuts down 15 minutes before the store closes each day.
If you have questions about the new deli section or its products, call 260-306-2464 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.