A rainbow of apples, bananas, pineapples, blueberries, mangos and oranges filling crates and baskets will easily catch shoppers’ eyes when they walk inside.
And those are just the fruit options.
At Market Fresh, a brand new grocery store on N. 6th Street in Harrisburg, the name says it all—it’s fresh.
“This area didn’t have a lot of fresh vegetable and fruit options. We wanted to supply that for the community,” said Camila Contreras, who runs the store along with her father Ramon Contreras and his wife Yamelyn Vargas.
Ramon, originally from the Dominican Republic, isn’t new to the grocery industry. He’s owned a handful of corner stores along the east coast over the past 30 years. But Market Fresh, he said, is his biggest store yet.
After conducting a market study, Camila said that the family settled on their Uptown location, noticing the need for a grocery store in the neighborhood.
“We realized everything was really far away,” she said. “He [Ramon] saw it as an opportunity to grow and help the community out.”
Market Fresh officially opened on Friday with a great turnout, Camila said. On Monday morning, customers strolled in, scoping out the shop. Some purchased freshly sliced meats and cheese from the deli counter and filled plastic sacks with veggies.
“It’s very pleasant and very clean,” said Harrisburg resident Ann Snipes on her first trip to the shop. “This is something the community needs. The Dollar Store isn’t giving you fresh food.”
In addition to the fresh meats and produce, the store has aisles full of frozen and packaged items. A row of freezers chill frozen fruit, waffles, ice cream, vegetables and frozen meals. There are English muffins, bagels, sliced bread and over 10 different kinds of peanut butter. There’s cereal, pasta, baking items, household and paper products, coffee and tea, pet food and baby food.
Camila also pointed out the large number of Goya and other Latino cuisine products.
“Because the area is really mixed [culturally], we tried to supply food that catered to everyone in the community,” Vargas said.
Ramon said that he plans to feel out what the community would like to see at Market Fresh and is open to taking suggestions from customers.
“It may take awhile to figure out what items people like,” he said. “I hope the community supports me.”
Ramon learned to do business from his parents’ example, he said. They came to the United States from the Dominican Republic in the 1990s and opened a corner store. Ramon learned the family trade and began following in their footsteps.
Now, his daughter Camila is doing the same, helping her father and stepmother run Market Fresh while she finishes her last year of college, studying business management.
It took the family two years to transform their space on N. 6th Street into what it is today, as the pandemic delayed its opening. Ramon is proud of his new shop. He sees how far he’s come over the last 30 years of business.
“I’m really happy,” he said. “Now that I see it done, I feel great. My hope is to offer the best services and quality to the community.”
Market Fresh is located at 2446 N. 6th St., Harrisburg. It is open on Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sunday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, visit their website.
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