2012 Luncheon (December 13, 2012)
Virginia Community Capital, Richmond
George Bowers Grocery was one of five businesses statewide recognized at the annual meeting of Virginia Community Capital. George Bowers Grocery, the City of Staunton, and the Staunton Creative Community Fund served as an example of microlending success in the state. The shop is featured in a VCC video.
Innovative Local Grocery Sparks Conversation
Amex Open Forum
I’ve been thinking about what small businesses can teach larger ones about establishing and sustaining a strong culture, both in front and back of the store. I found at least one answer: Invite conversation and connection.
The George Bowers Grocery Store
American Public Radio, The Story w/ Dick Gordon
Katie McCaskey and her husband relocated to Staunton, Va., and opened a neighborhood grocery store. Their story involves a failed partnership, getting their power cut off and trying to offer customer service that gets people to return. This story comes from our partnership with Salon, where Katie wrote an essay about her business. Read more about her forthcoming book, and the store.
We never thought we’d be grocers
Salon.com, My Brilliant Second Career
George Bowers was a New Yorker who died at the turn of last century. It turns out, he would change my life…
Down the hill and up with business
Staunton News-Leader, May 11, 2011
The move from the 600 block of West Beverley — the 1890s home of the landmark Staunton grocery George Bowers opened in 1881 — has already brought a quadrupling of foot traffic during the store’s first weekend at its new location, Weidemann said.
With the move to the Stonewall Jackson School came an “on-off” Alcoholic Beverages Control Department license, which means people can drink beer or wine at the store.
Local Food Heroes 2011
Edible Blue Ridge, Spring 2011
Food Shop George Bowers Grocery (Staunton). Merging the feel and service of an old-timey grocer with a very contemporary mission to support local farms and food artisans, this purveyor of “staple goods and fancy groceries” has become a regular stop for Staunton foodies. And soon—breaking news alert—they’ll be stopping at a bigger, better new location complete with outdoor patio.
George Bowers Grocery Named “Local Hero”
Readers of Edible Blue Ridge magazine selected George Bowers Grocery as “Local Hero”, in addition to:
- Farm – Harvest Thyme Herbs (Staunton)
- Food Artisan – Virginia Vinegar Works (Nelson County)
- Beverage Artisan – Jason Oliver, Devils Backbone Brewing Company (Nelson County)
- Chef/Resaurant – Mark Newsome/Joshua Wilton House (Harrisonburg)
- Non-Profit Organization – The Local Food Hub (Charlottesville)
A Foodie Find
Baltimore Magazine, March 2011
Who knew that Staunton, a tiny city in Virginia, is one of the country’s best-kept foodie secrets? But that probably won’t be the case for long. Locavore-loving epicureans are taking notice of this agrarian region in the Shenandoah Valley.
Hop aboard Staunton’s free trolley to tour the town; it takes about 30 minutes and riders can exit and reboard anywhere along the route. Staunton is comprised of five newly restored historical districts. Its quirky mix of at least nine periods (1790s-1920s) of Early American architecture owes its survival to the fact that the town escaped being burned during the Civil War (allegedly due to its revered collection of high-end brothels).
What also distinguishes Staunton from other history-laden Southern cities is its profusion of arts venues. Within the new Red Brick District in the center of the city are five world-class performance theaters, four museums, countless galleries, and live music locales.
What’s more, Staunton’s business community is fiercely dedicated to supporting its inherent sustainable and locotarian philosophy with lots of small markets that sell locally produced foodstuffs. George Bowers Grocery (614 W. Beverley St., 540-255-6811, georgebowersgrocery.com) is a resurrected (circa 1881) “staple goods & fancy groceries” shop. The owner Brian Wiedemann has launched an Android mobile app that tracks Staunton’s food, farm, and restaurant news.
Communication key to success of old-time grocery
Purdue University’s Communicator, Spring 2011
Successful communication is an important part of that success. In March 2010, they became the first independent groceries in America to produce a smartphone app. It features updates from the grocery and news from the town of Staunton and Virginia.
How a Tiny Grocer Outflanks Kroger on Facebook
Content Marketing Today, January 17, 2011
The grocery has hundreds of fans drawn primarily from their small town of just 25,000 residents. There is a consistent level of interaction between the company and its customers. In fact, they estimate that 75% of their customers connect with them on Facebook or read their blog.
Best of all, on Facebook they can battle local giant Kroger toe-to-toe. That would’ve been impossible in the local newspaper, radio or TV station. They can’t out spend Kroger with traditional advertising, but they certainly can outmaneuver them on Facebook.
Although Kroger has thousands of Facebook fans across the United States, they average only 10 fans per store–while George Bowers has 429 at their single location. And, Katie manages to stay just as current on the George Bowers Facebook page as their billion-dollar competitor. At the same time, this micro marketer’s Facebook page has a much stronger visual appeal on a daily basis than does Kroger.
Psst… we invite you to join us on Facebook!
Beer, wine, food takes center stage at George Bowers
Go! Magazine, The News-Leader, January 6, 2011
“We feature local foods with select specialty items, along with craft beer and wine,” [Wiedemann] adds.
Wiedemann said craft beers are a prominent part of the assortment.
“We enjoy them and felt if we offered a weekly tasting we could expose more people to the great variety of quality American small breweries,” said Wiedemann. [...]
Bobby Perkins of Staunton, who calls himself a “beer snob,” said he enjoys visiting the tastings and prefers to purchase his beer from the grocery rather than from chain stores. [...]
Perkins said he likes that the store plays records during the tasting, and enjoys conversing with the owners. “It’s a good time … I really enjoy it and will probably be there this Friday night,” he said.
Bell Holds Town Hall, Talks Bills and Business
WHSV, Channel 3, December 2, 2010
However, not all small businesses are in a position to take advantage of the tax break just yet.
“It would probably be more expensive for us to bring on an additional employee or employees than the half percent off tax offset would be. So, I don’t know that it quite makes sense for us right now, but it is, nonetheless, nice to hear about legislation like that being proposed,” says owner of George Bowers Grocery, Brian Wiedeman.
Edible Blue Ridge “Look What’s Cooking”
Fall 2010, pg. 16
Why do we tend to time our shopping trips to George Bowers Grocery for the end of the workweek? Well, it might have a little something to do with the complimentary American craft beers, paired with local gourmet morsels (recent example: chipotle sliders made with meat from Buffalo Creek Beef in Lexington). Proprietor Brian Wiedemann kicks off the tastings every Friday starting at 5 p.m. Yes, we think we deserves some sort of humanitarian award too. See you there.
Staunton Business Success Studied by Virginia Business Owners
WHSV, Channel 3, September 30, 2010
“[Our store is] absolutely unique. That’s how you distinguish yourself between all the big box, football size supermarkets,” Wiedemann says.
Wiedemann’s store specializes in beer and local food. He says the local business model is something other cities are also craving.
“What’s happening here [in Staunton] is definitely applicable to every state in the Union. Others could adopt what we’re doing here, and many of them are.” Wiedemann says.
George Bowers Grocery is listed in a spread featuring Staunton’s many top-quality food destinations. Brian Wiedemann is quoted on page 48 in reference to the many unique, independent businesses:
“Folks in Staunton realize what they have is special and fight to preserve it rather than expand the tax base with a dozen box stores.”
I love running George Bowers Grocery with Brian, my right-hand man in work and in life. So, I was pleased to be profiled here – with my husband, but, just as importantly, as an independent woman and entrepreneur, too. ~Katie
We’re very fortunate that there are a lot of local food producers where we live in Virginia, so we can support the local food movement. In a modern-tech twist, we’re also the first-ever independent, specialty food retailer to develop our own app, too!
CSA Subscriber Newsletter
Nu-Beginning Farm, June 11, 2010
I want to take this opportunity, once again, to thank Brian and Katie at George Bowers Grocery for being such a gracious host. These are two great people who believe in what they do. Take a moment to talk to them, get to know them, do a little shopping while your there and realize what a great resource this place is for the neighborhood. You don’t have to live in Newtown area to call them YOUR neighborhood grocery.
Meet the Entrepreneur: Staunton Creative Community Fund (SCCF)
SCCF website profile, June 2010
Innovation: George Bowers Grocery launched an Android mobile phone app March 1, 2010. The app tracks food, farm, and restaurant news in Staunton as well as features updates from the official Virginia tourism board, among other things.
Edible Blue Ridge: The Grilling Season
CBS, Channel 19, Charlottesville, May 31, 2010
Our bratwurst from T&E Meats is featured in a Memorial Day television segment. Watch for it at 1:50 seconds in by clicking here…
Goat workshop will espouse meat, weed-eating capabilities
News Leader, May 19, 2010
On Thursday, the Shenandoah Resources and Conservation Council will host an informational field day for land owners about raising Boer Bok goats, both for biological control and for meat.
Clay Trainum said Boer Bok meat is tender, low in fat and easy to grill. Zynodoa, Cranberry’s and George Bowers Grocery carry Boer Bok meat from Autumn Olive Farms.
“As a red meat, it is exceedingly healthy,” George Bowers Grocery co-owner Brian said of Boer Bok meat, adding that he tries to support locally owned businesses that “preserve the agricultural character or heritage of this area.”
Fund Fosters Growth of Small Business in Staunton
Augusta Free Press, April 14, 2010
“We’re into our next growth phase,” said Wiedemann, who with McCaskey opened the George Bowers Grocery on West Beverley Street in the heart of Newtown in Staunton in November 2008, and after a harsh winter is in the middle of year two of operations.
The plans that the couple has been working on with help from the Staunton Creative Community Fund include redoing the front counter to allow for a buildup of the nonperishable offerings and a reconfiguration of the floor plan to allow for the expansion of beer, wine and snack offerings near the front entrance.
The Fund, also founded in 2008, has been an important resource to Wiedemann and McCaskey as they’ve built their business from the ground up.
A Community Investment: Residents Share Risks, Crops in Farm Program
News Leader, April 13, 2010
To take some of the guesswork out of his growing season, John Matheny of Nu-Beginning Farm in Greenville teamed up with Sullivan Farm near Grottoes and Staunton’s George Bowers Grocery to start up a community-supported agriculture program.
George Bowers Grocery
Mid-Atlantic Traveler, April 12, 2010
George Bowers Grocery specializes in “staple goods & fancy groceries” with a strong sense of community. Every time I’ve been in Katie & Brian seem to know their customers very well. Most everything in the store is local or regional [...]
In these days of hectic everything and big box stores it’s nice to know there’s a place you can go and have a chat with the owners and who know about the products and where they came from. Staunton is lucky to have a neighborhood grocery like George Bowers.
C’ville Bites & Sights
Fall 2009, pg 77
Lush Farms Two city dwellers turned farmers; socially conscious and healthy food follows. The farm grows produce from heirloom seeds without the use of chemicals. Take the goods home from George Bowers Grocery, located just a quarter of a mile down the road.
[Note: We've closed Lush Farms for the season, but see you next Spring!]
Family Prepares Locally Grown Feast
The News Leader November 2009
Kelley [Flanders], who’s hosting Thanksgiving at her home in Fishersville, bought a Polyface Farms turkey from George Bowers Grocery. She said her husband and a friend will provide venison and goose breast hunted on their property.
Buying local has a bigger significance for the women than a holiday scavenger hunt. Dana [Flanders], who owns Crown Jewelry on West Beverley Street, and Kelley, owner of Byer Street Housewares, think it’s important to support the local economy whenever possible.
“It’s not necessarily that someone I buy from will buy from me, but that money will stay in the community,” Dana said.
What to Feed Your Vegan Guest on Thanksgiving
The News Leader November 2009
But Harris, whose Darjeeling Café on West Beverley Street in Staunton includes vegan and vegetarian fare on its menu, said it’s easier than ever to cook for a holiday crowd that includes a vegan.
“It can be tricky,” she said. “There are so many ingredients that you wouldn’t think are made using animals, but they are. It takes a little research, but there are plenty of meat and dairy substitutes available around here, and they’ve come a long way in taste and texture.”
[...] Harris said local stores such as Martin’s, Kroger, Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery and George Bowers Grocery offer dairy and meat substitution products in varying degrees.
Fun Fall Getaways for Foodies
Northern Virginia Magazine September 2009
Don’t miss the historic Virginia town of Staunton’s celebration at the Frontier Culture Museum. While in town, you should also check out Cranberry’s Grocery and George Bowers Grocery which both sell local fresh goods, as well as the many Staunton restaurants that serve farm-to-fork fare…
A True Community
Once a fixer-upper, Staunton’s Newtown now shining light in Queen City
The New Dominion October 26, 2009
“It’s a neighborhood in transition, and in our experience neighborhoods in transition have a lot of opportunity for people to either build their personal life there, renovate a home, renovate an apartment or something, or conversely start a business that then becomes an anchor in the neighborhood. We sort of took both routes,” said Brian Wiedemann, who opened the George Bowers Grocery [...] last November and is engaged in an ongoing Newtown home renovation at the same time.
Flavor Magazine October/November 2009
Virginia Microenterprise Network…[B]rings together microenterprise and main street programs, community economic developers, organizations interested in eco-tourism and sustainable agriculture, and small business owners (like Staunton’s George Bowers Grocery co-owner Brian Wiedemann, pictured here) from all of the state and Washington, D.C.
Kaine talks business in tour through downtown Staunton
The News Leader, October 1, 2009
Since Forbes Magazine named Virginia the Best State for Business last week, Gov. Tim Kaine has been traveling the state to visit with local business owners and talk about how they work.
On Thursday, the governor visited downtown Staunton to meet with the owners of several local businesses, including Mockingbird, Fretwell Bass and George Bowers Grocery.
Staunton’s office of Economic Development hand-picked the businesses he would visit.
Augusta County Chamber of Commerce
Crossroads Business Magazine, Fall 2009
In “Q&A with Meghan Williamson, Staunton Creative Community Fund”, page 24
PHOTO: George Bowers Grocery, located in Newtown in Staunton. Pictured is co-owner Brian Wiedemann, who owns the business with his wife Katie McCaskey. George Bowers Grocery is both a business planning graduate of the Staunton Creative Community Fund’s CORE FOUR Business Plan Development Course and an SCCF microloan recipient. In business since Fall 2008, they used their microloan to finance start-up costs.
Staunton Grant to Go to Start-Ups
WVIR – NBC Channel 29, September 8, 2009
Our grocery hosted the City of Staunton’s announcement that funds are now available for small business start-ups. As micro-loan recipients last year we encourage our neighbors to apply. Click here to download the application.
Staunton is using a $200,000 state grant to create a new SPARC PLUG loan program for women, minority, and low-income entrepreneurs to start-up businesses in the city. [...]
Wiedemann believes the SPARC funds will open up new opportunities and storefronts for his Newtown neighbors.
“Newtown is a socio-economically diverse neighborhood, and I really firmly believe the businesses that operate here should reflect that,” Wiedemann said.
Staunton Launches New Business Loan Program
Augusta Free Press, September 8, 2009
George Bowers Grocery, an independent grocery store located in the New Town neighborhood in Staunton, is a thriving example that small loans can have a big community impact. Since opening its doors with help from a Staunton Creative Community Fund loan in 2008, George Bowers Grocery has become a local destination that has helped two other small businesses in the region remain viable through additional sales outlets. Their “urban garden” in New Town is proof that business growth comes in many forms, emphasizing green development, local production, and community pride.
“We have been very fortunate to be able to work with the Staunton Creative Community Fund,” said Katie McCaskey, co-owner of George Bowers Grocery. “Probably more important than funding, SCCF has helped us network with other businesses that have similar needs and concerns and that is where the real learning happens,” she continued.
Business Owners Speak at MBC
WHSV – ABC Channel 3, February 12, 2009
The group talked about how they’re making a profit in a historic community, while also leaving their mark.
Staunton Creative Community Fund Founder Dr. Tony Smith explained the difficulty of getting a bank loan in the city if your a business, “Banks south of the Mason-Dixon line generally do not like to make loans to businesses, it’s the highest risk area to make loans to, which is rather unfortunate because that’s a source of job creation.”
Not Just Another Grocery
Campus Comments, Mary Baldwin College, January 2009, by Sarah Anne Barrow
All of the foods there are local and, for the most part, organic with very reasonable prices. [...] I guarantee you’ll have found your new grocery store for your time at Mary Baldwin.
A Fresh Approach
The News Leader, Staunton, November 24, 2008
Although some organic options will be available, McCaskey and her partners want the emphasis to be placed on local and practical, not to mention Bowers’ original focus on all things staple and fancy.
Dry and bulk goods such as flour, sugar and whole oats will be sold along with jams, pasta sauce, breads and an assortment of pantry necessities. George Bowers also plans to offer soups, which can be served at the location’s soup counter, take-away lunches from area restaurants, and a variety of locally produced goods.
‘Staple Goods and Fancy Groceries’
The News Virginian, Waynesboro, November 22, 2008
With lines out the door and their one-room store “packed like a subway car,” the four collaborators who opened George Bowers Grocery in Staunton on Saturday were nothing but smiles, selling locally produced cheese and shelling out soup samples from the West Beverley Street address where a similar store stood 100 years before.
Staunton’s Newtown: Making a Comeback
From NBC WVR-TV, Channel 29, Charlottesville, November 11, 2008
“A rehabbed Staunton neighborhood is changing again. First came the home renovations and the people moving back in. Now, businesses are coming back to historic Newtown.
George Bowers Grocery first opened in 1881. It will re-open later this month. Brian Wiedemann stocks the shelves at the grocery with private label and local fresh from the farm foods. He says the store will fill a need in Newtown for a grocer within walking distance of the blocks of restored homes in the neighborhood.”
Remember when… downtown had a grocery store?
From The New Dominion Magazine, October 30, 2008:
“We’re throwing a wide net, basically letting everybody here in the neighborhood know, if you’re check to check, if you’re on Social Security, or if you spend five days a week in D.C. and come down here on the weekends, we’re going to have something for your needs. And save you a trip to Kroger or Martin’s. I hate to drive any more than I have to, and if you need one little grocery item, you can get it here,” Wiedemann said.
Small Business Leaders Unite for Training Program
From the Staunton News Leader, October 6, 2008:
[B]y talking with other business owners, participants have the ability to come up with new ideas together in addition to hearing tips and methods that have worked for others.
Finding success on West Beverley
From the Staunton News Leader, October 6, 2008:
The list of new shops that recently joined McMullan includes the beauty and tanning salon Top Ten and West Side Grill, which opened its doors Wednesday. Also more growth is coming with the expected opening of George Bowers Grocery next month. It will be located on West Beverley, next to The Dirty Bean — another relatively new addition to the street.
Local Entrepreneurs Celebrate Business Training and Marriage of Ideas
For information contact: Dr. Tony Smith, SCCF 540-213-0333
It’s not often that entrepreneurs in the business of books, a laundromat and expresso bar, locally raised food and soup counter, unique gifts and party favors, and tool repairs find common ground, much less finding reason to celebrate a shared accomplishment. On the other hand, it should hold no surprise, as Staunton enjoys a reputation as a creative community, in part due to the efforts of its local entrepreneurs, artists, educators and cultural centers, and the recently formed Staunton Creative Community Fund, Inc. (SCCF). [...]
Meet Katie McCaskey, Urban Escapee (and Soon-to-Be) Grocer
From Fresh Approach Coach (Roquebrun, France):
MG: Well there must be something in the water [in Staunton] that energizes you, because in addition to everything else you’re doing, you’re also now a partner in a new grocery store. I don’t get to meet many people who sign up for that sort of thing, so what’s the scoop?
George Bowers Grocery to Reopen
From WHSV.com (Channel 3):
The Staunton Creative Community Fund has helped the store financially, and it says the store is a perfect example of small business growth.
Executive Director Anthony Smith says, “They’re creating an important anchor in a neighborhood that’s going through revitalization. It’s a service to the community. It’s a service to local farmers.”
New grocery store coming to Newtown district
Staunton News Leader, Sept. 3, 2008:
The store will be located next to The Dirty Bean espresso bar and will offer locally raised food, a delicatessen, dinner entrees to go, and a soup counter. Part of the store’s mission is to enable Staunton residents to obtain locally grown, nutritious food within walking distance.
George Bowers Grocery first opened in 1881. It will re-open later this month. Brian Weidemann stocks the shelves at the grocery with private label and local fresh from the farm foods. He says the store will fill a need in Newtown for a grocer within walking distance of the blocks of restored homes in the neighborhood.