Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Bulk Up: New grocery store planned for downtown Harrisburg.

Soon, this storefront will house Provisions, a new grocery store.

If you’ve been hungering for an urban-style grocery store in Harrisburg, here’s some very good news—your wait is almost over.

In a few months, Provisions will open in Strawberry Square, emphasizing natural, organic and locally produced goods, mostly sold in bulk.

Provisions will occupy 2,350 square feet of space next to Fresa Bistro with a storefront entrance on N. 3rd Street, said Brad Jones, CEO of Harristown Enterprises, which owns Strawberry Square.

“You’re going to be able to get fresh food that you can shop daily for,” said Jones, who described the market as a “locally grown Trader Joe’s.”

Jones expects the build-out of the space to begin immediately, with the store opening in mid-October.

Provisions is the brainchild of Shaun Donovan, the owner of the online grocery store Appalachian Organics, and Adam Porter, co-owner of the co-working space Startup Harrisburg.

Porter said that the pair met several years ago through mutual friend and fellow Harrisburg entrepreneur, Adam Brackbill.

“I said to [Donovan] one day, ‘I need a car just to feed myself,’ and down this path, we went,” Porter said, explaining how the idea began.

After searching for potential sites, the pair decided on N. 3rd between Market and Walnut streets due to the rapid development of downtown apartments in recent years, as well as an influx of state workers into Strawberry Square.

“We chose to locate our new store in Strawberry Square to be a part of the growing community that has been developing here,” Donovan said. “The strategic location, within a short walking distance of transit centers and the developing residential sector, make the store very accessible.”

The future Provisions, from inside Strawberry Square.

Provisions will make the most of its relatively snug space by selling most items in bulk, thereby eliminating bulky, wasteful packaging. This strategy also will keep costs down, so that items should sell at an affordable price, Porter said. In addition, customers can measure out exactly how much of an item they need, reducing waste.

“We can put items on the shelf in a concise way,” Porter said. “So, we don’t need as much square footage in the store.”

Some items, like meats, cheeses and dairy products, will be sold in more conventional packaging. The store also will carry items like cleaning supplies, locally roasted coffee, fresh-made baked goods and locally sourced produce.

“We’re going to use as many local vendors as we can,” Porter said. “We may not have quite as wide a variety as a supermarket, but it will still be a robust selection.”

He added that Provisions is intended for a local shopper—a resident or worker—who wants fresh items and, therefore, will patronize the store more often than one might visit a supermarket, perhaps several times a week.

“Our primary customer is someone within a 10-minute walk,” Porter said.

He said that he wouldn’t be surprised to get some suburban shoppers, who might be attracted to the unique items and shopping experience. To that end, he and Donovan plan to promote Park Harrisburg’s reduced-rate street parking, which includes free parking on Sundays, four hours of free parking on Saturdays using an online code and reduced prices weekdays between 5 and 7 p.m.

If the concept is successful, Porter envisions Provisions expanding, with smaller-format stores in more neighborhoods in Harrisburg. That would contrast sharply with the current model of downscale corner stores in the city and sprawling supermarkets in the suburbs.

“People always ask me, ‘What about a grocery store?’ when you talk about a downtown renaissance,” Jones said. “Now, you’re going to be able to get fresh food you can shop daily for.”

ProvisionsHBG will be located at 15-17 N. 3rd St., Harrisburg, also accessible from inside Strawberry Square. Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) is ProvisionsHBG. A website will be located at www.provisionshbg.com.

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