Robin was incredibly gracious and met with me a day before the store’s grand opening and less than an hour before a media preview and ribbon cutting. The mayor of Plymouth shared some words and several other city officials were present. During our interview, the store was buzzing with excited employees getting ready to test run the store for a sneak preview for family and friends that evening.
Describe your business.
Somebody once said, if Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s had a baby, it would be us.
What made you decide to open this business?
I worked for Cub Foods & Supervalu for 38 years and quit to come here. The market has changed. The companies have changed. We are store number 5 here in Minnesota, and when I started with Cub Foods, they had 5 stores. So there is a lot of synergies and excitement. This is fabulous. I like what I do. This is a really cool format. I want to have fun before I retire.
What has surprised you most when owning a business?
The variety. We have a healthier, better food product here. We have a better alternative. The biggest surprise, we have over 9,000 different vitamins and minerals.
What would your customers say they love most about your business?
The social media buzz for this store has been phenomenal. There is a really, really god vibration. Folks here are ready for it. There is nothing here on the Western side like it.
What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had working with a customer?
The number of folks I have met at the door wanting to come in. One was a couple just moving to Plymouth. I gave them a tour even though we weren’t open. The healthier, natural, better lifestyle is here.
Do you have any exciting plans for the future that you want customers to know about?
I am a firm believer in being part of the community. The schools, getting involved with the schools. (At this point, what I assume to be his lunch was delivered – As I mentioned, he welcomed me on what was a very busy day and continued answering questions though I am sure this was his only break to that point!) We also partner with second harvest and they have connected us with IOCP. There are unfortunately still people that need food. Tell us what you need. We are not going to be an absentee company in the community.
What do you like most about being an entrepreneur?
The freedom. That you can do things. I can do whatever I want.
Do you have any advice that you want to share with other entrepreneurs?
Believe in your gut. Go for it. What is the worst thing that can happen? You go try something different. If you don’t take the first step, you aren’t going to finish the race. You get to do what your heart and passion is.
What do you love about this neighborhood?
We are big theater buffs. We love concerts. We are both avid readers, our favorite store is Once Upon a Crime, all they sell is mysteries. Talk about a great small business. We love the lakes; we like to bike.
Why do you think it’s important for people to shop local?
Because they are your neighbor. All the employees are your neighbor and we are up to 100 employees. They all live right here. They live here, they shop here. Take care of your neighbor.