The following post is sponsored by Kingma’s Market.
The new Kingma’s Market in Ada offers convenient shopping with an emphasis on community building.
Walking into the store, guests are greeted by the bulk wall — a nearly floor-to-ceiling assortment of chocolates, trail mixes, dried fruit, candy and other goodies. Anyone who has shopped at Kingma’s original location on Plainfield Avenue is familiar with the bulk wall, but Alan Hartline, Kingma’s owner, said the new store offers the concept “on steroids.”
“The bulk wall gets bigger and bolder,” he said. The same is true for the store’s produce area. “We pick up a little more space, and we have a bigger emphasis on organic and fresh produce and it’s delivered directly from the field or orchard almost daily.”
Hartline said Kingma’s works with a local farm that operates a greenhouse, so even during the winter, customers can be assured of fresh, local produce. “When there is snow on the ground in January, we are still going to have fresh spinach, kale and beets,” he said. “It’s all organic. Since it’s grown inside it doesn’t require pesticides. That’s a big difference customers are loving.”
Kingma’s overall focus is on local food. Hartline said 50 percent of what the store sells is local. He also said this cuts down on the store’s carbon footprint, something that’s important to him and shoppers.
Hartline also is co-owner of Fish Lads and Carvers, two Grand Rapids Downtown Market vendors, and he’s brought both to Kingma’s Ada location. Not only can guests pick up ingredients for their evening meal, they can actually dine in.
“You can come in for lunch or dinner,” he said. “We have an oyster bar, and we’ll shuck it in front of you. We have both an inside and outside seating area.” There also are a number of premade meals available at the deli counter, and Hartline partnered with Rowster’s on an in-store coffee bar.
While Kingma’s Plainfield location has an established reputation as an intimate shop that promotes community, the new store takes the concept to another level by asking shoppers to take a seat and hang out.
“The market is an intimate shop, and it’s also an experience,” Hartline said.
Part of that comes from the open market layout. “We wanted a farm market-type feel,” Hartline said. “We used a lot of wood, and there’s a tremendous amount of natural light.” All of which contributes to the welcoming atmosphere.
A veteran of the grocery industry — he previously worked for Spartan Stores before purchasing Kingma’s three years ago — Hartline has his finger on the pulse of today’s shopper.
He said millennials and boomers alike are shopping differently. “This model caters to today’s consumer,” Hartline said, “whether it’s the boomer with more time on their hands, watching the cooking shows and wanting to experience food and its entertainment aspects, or the millennials, who want to get in and out and have already ordered a third of their traditional shopping trip online.”
He said Kingma’s playbook focuses on the more frequent shopper. “It’s almost a European model,” Hartline said. “You are shopping more frequently, what’s for dinner tonight?
“I’m going to pop into Kingma’s, and the butcher’s going to know my name and I’m going to get some fresh produce and have fun doing it and get in and out easy. It’s not like shopping in a big supermarket and having to plan out the week’s meals.”
Kingma’s is an anchor tenant for the re-design taking place in downtown Ada. The project includes redevelopment of the river, additional streets and a boardwalk, and new retail and residential units. Kingma’s provides the much-needed market component for this emerging “walkable lifestyle center.”