Grow owner Barry Fisher offers the pick of the crop, be it fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats or prepared foods. Photo by Kevin Cody
Manhattan Beach’s favorite grocery store is expanding its horizons.
Grow, a small family-owned business established locally for its top-quality produce, is set to open a second location in downtown Los Angeles this fall. It is the first confirmed tenant in One Santa Fe, a quarter-mile long development project in the arts district. The new location, a 5,300 sq. ft. space, will be double the size of its original shop.
“We’re very excited about that,” said Barry Fisher, co-owner with his wife Kathy. “One thing we lack in Manhattan Beach is space. That’s a very big challenge for us.
With a full kitchen at the new location, Grow will expand its services to include made-to-order sandwiches, prepared salads, side dishes and meals as well as a sushi bar and wider grocery and wine sections. Fisher said he’s wanted to offer prepared meals at the original location, which currently sells freshly-made soup prepared by a local gentleman. With the expansion, Manhattan Beach Grow will likely begin offering full meals, delivered daily from the downtown location, Fisher said.
In 2003, Fisher’s then 5-year-old son Brendan set up a cherry stand outside his family’s home on 33rd Street in Manhattan Beach with hopes of earning enough money to buy a boogie board. An unprecedented volume of interest led to his family’s opening of Grow produce store in September of 2006. The shop offers everything from citrus, herbs and lettuces to artisanal cheese, wine and high-quality meats. Seasonal items pique a lot of interest, yet cherries remain Grow’s best selling item, Fisher said. As of 2010, Grow takes online orders and offers home deliveries.
Fisher, who worked 20 years as a fruit exporter, said he and his wife Kathy had been seeking a second location for nearly five years, to no avail.
One Sante Fe, slated for completion this fall, is a mix-use project that includes 430 housing units and 80,000 sq. ft. of retail. The space also includes a gallery, a park and a 99-seat theater. Fisher said a frequent customer had recommended Grow to the developer, who wanted a small LA-based grocer.
“We looked at a lot of other locations in the past but we’d never been happy,” he said. “This was the first time [Kathy] walked in, walked through the facilities and said this was gonna be a good fit for us.”
Josh Harrison, Grow’s director of operations since its inception, will be overseeing the downtown store. About 30 employees, full-time and part-time, will be hired for its operations. After spending a number of days chatting up downtown residents on the streets, Harrison is confident that Grow will be a success, owed to the community’s strong sense of neighborhood and passion for “great, real food.”
“My takeaway is that residents downtown and in the arts district specifically are still looking for a grocery store that can be their weekly go-to,” he said. “They want local. They want organic. They want prices that are competitive. They want friendly service. That’s a tall order but one that we’ve been successfully filling in the South Bay for almost a decade.”