Wilder’s Organic Market, a new grocery store on Main Street in Gunnison, opened Monday night. The event exceeded expectations for sales, snacks and smiles.
“It was nice to see so many locals going out on a Monday night – especially the support from other business owners,” said Community Liaison and Events Manager Alexis Taylor. After many hours of stacking the shelves with store manager Nick Brunel, Taylor said she started stacking the shelves while she slept, but all the preparation paid off.
“It went really, really well,” Brunel said. More than 100 people attended the opening.
Wilder’s isn’t just another health food store, owner Cassia Montgomery said. “Gunnison really deserves something that celebrates local agriculture and ranching,” she said. “It won’t just be a product because there is a product. [Products] will be local first, Colorado, then national.
Ahead of Monday’s opening, Taylor and Brunel sorted through local produce and meat from the Gunnison Valley Producers Guild, backpack meals from a woman-owned LGBTQ brand in Durango, semolina from corn grown by Ute and, of course, Valley staples like Third Bowl ice cream.
“It’s not easy doing what they’re trying to start,” said Blaine Pickett of Calder Farm. “Our mission as a farm is grown in the community for the community, and it’s always great to have another outlet.”
Calder Farm is a regenerative farm based in Gunnison that supplies pork to Wilder’s Market. The Pickett family photo and story hangs on the wall at Wilder’s, along with other local farmers, in an effort to bridge the gap between grower and customer. Wilder’s prioritizes meat raised within 100 miles.
“The main purpose of the store is to provide resources to growers here in the Valley, more effective ways to sell their product and get it to the customer in a more direct way,” Brunel said.
For the opening, the Wilder team served hors d’oeuvres in their lounge area where people have “a place to study, a place to sit and relax,” Montgomery said. They also poured out free wine, beer, kombucha, and coffee for shoppers to enjoy. A local chocolatier offered samples at Wilder’s Gourmet Corner, where customers can make their own charcuterie boards with cheeses from sustainable farms around the world.
“What excites me the most is people learning to eat with more flavors and more information about the foods they eat. I want to give people options, but I also want to make sure that This is a community space,” Montgomery said. The team has plans for Meditation Mondays, movie nights and “meet your farmer” events.
Montgomery cut the ribbon and entered a new chapter for her and the town of Gunnison.
“I want it to be fun and I want it to be tasty,” she said.
Monday night’s two best sellers were Third Bowl Ice Cream and Bacon.
(Anna Coburn can be reached at 970.641.1414 or [email protected])