In the age of COVID, grocery shopping has been reinvented.
Many people shifted to curbside pickup and delivery for their grocery needs over the past year, hoping to avoid the stress and risk of a crowded indoor space. One great alternative for many reasons is a farmers market, but they’re not available year-round. And if we’re being honest, the necessary safety precautions may have diminished a bit of the charm.
This is where Cubi Market steps in. Pronounced “cubby,” this shop provides a whole new way to buy local, combining local support of farmers markets with the convenience of curbside pickup and the nostalgia of nursery school storage spaces.
The process is simple: Go on cubi.com, select your local market and pick-up day, and shop the site for all your grocery needs. On pick-up day, Cubi will gather all the orders from all the vendors in the morning and store yours in your cubby! All you have to do is show up and bring the goods home.
“We just want to connect people with great local food and a quick, easy, one-stop destination to pick it up,” said Paul Mixa, marketplace director and chief curator.
At the moment, there are two markets to pick from: Grand Rapids’ location sits at the corner of Wealthy and Fuller, across the street from Hancock. Holland’s location is on 17th Street, right by Tulip City Brewstillery.
Mixa said Cubi cuts out a lot of the packaging and additional driving that comes with grocery delivery, and has a reach that expands beyond farmers markets. Plus, in the very rare case a substitution is needed, they’ll work to make sure you get the best available product.
The most important aspect of Cubi is the vendors. Go on the website and you’ll see pictures of all the people behind the products, along with information on what makes them special!
The selection is huge as well, with baked goods, beverages, dairy, dessert, meat, veggies, snacks, household products and more. In all, there are more than 300 items on the menu, and the list is still growing.
In one order, you can get a Peppermint Shampoo Bar from Maggie Ann Soap, Sundried Tomato Cheese Spread from Country Winds Creamery, and Chocolate Croissants from Uncommon Coffee Roasters, along with treats for your four-legged friend.
While quantity is certainly here, the quality is the selling point. Mixa knows that for a fact, having years of experience as a chef using local ingredients. He’s not just stocking any product that happens to be nearby. “These merchants really put a lot of love into what they’re making, and it shows in the taste as well.” Not only that, but local products have health benefits, such as using local honey to help with season allergies.
Another benefit of Cubi is expanded access — for someone in Holland, getting Field & Fire bread wasn’t easy to find, but the market fixes that. And for those of us in GR, we can get a fully prepared Shepherd’s Pie from The Curragh Irish Pub without having to drive out.
“The great thing about it is, it’s so fresh,” Mixa said. “We pick up our vegetables early in the morning, pick up our bread from Field & Fire Bakery, it’s still warm. And then we have it loaded into the cubbies by 11 a.m. for customers.”
Cubi has plans to grow, not just with its markets — which don’t take up much more space than a shipping container — but with its offerings. Mixa would love to introduce cooking videos and recipes for use with the products to help people figure out how to make the most of these quality ingredients.
For now, you can order from hundreds of local products and have it all waiting for you in a matter of days. It’s convenient, easy, safe, good for the environment and helps connect you to a larger community.
“Overall, you can’t find anything wrong with it,” Mixa said. That’s an understatement!
1201 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids
430 W. 17th St., Holland