Courtesy of Reed Immer
On Thursday afternoon, the new Atticus Market is set to celebrate local suppliers in an outdoor patio event. Downtown cafe and bookstore Atticus opened an East Rock market in March.
The bookstore also runs the Chabaso Bakery on James Street, where Atticus’ team gained experience with Northeast and specialty grocers. Reed Immer, the director of sales and marketing at Atticus and Chabaso, said the business expanded to create Atticus Market in order to feature local grains, high-end baked goods and local farmers.
“The new Atticus space is an evolution of what we have downtown,” Immer said. “It’s a little more food focused and there’s a lot of speciality staples from local farms.”
Despite the economic uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Immer told the News that he is confident that the grocery model is the right direction for the Atticus concept to move forward. To that end, Atticus Market will sell products made by local suppliers throughout New Haven and Connecticut.
At Thursday’s event, these local suppliers will host tables to speak about their products, including Middle Eastern baked goods from Sanctuary Kitchen, local honey products from Huneebee Project, acorn-fed pork from Walden Hill and cut flowers from Little Hen Farm.
Christina Natale, the owner-operator of Little Hen Farm, said that the farmers-market format of the event is a “great idea” as it will allow the local growers and entrepreneurs to introduce themselves to the community.
Natale said she started her flower farm business because she saw a lack of supply in the local flower market. At the onset of the pandemic, she said she was worried that a decrease in the number of weddings would negatively impact her business. However, Natale actually saw an increase in demand for flowers when people sent them to loved ones as a means of connecting from a distance.
The pandemic also changed the direction of other New Haven businesses: Walden Hill, which had previously relied on the wholesale of its acorn-fed pork to restaurants, expanded to have an online portal that facilitated local delivery and branched into selling retail. One of the company’s new retail partners is Atticus Market.
Walden Hill was founded by New Haven-native Jennifer Milikowsky, SOM ’16 ENV ’15, while she was still a student. As a graduate student, Milikowsky said her social scene was focused in the East Rock area, and said she was excited to see Atticus expand its presence into the neighborhood.
“It’s bringing that really authentic family-friendly feel that you get to Atticus Cafe and Bookstore into the East Rock neighborhood, and I just think that’s really special,” Milikowsky said.
Milikowsky anticipates Atticus Market’s opening event will be a “neighborhood celebration” where suppliers can engage with the community. She said she appreciates how shopping locally fosters connections, which are especially important during the isolation of a pandemic.
“Atticus Market is a great example of those local connections, because you walk in and everyone’s friendly and from the community,” Milikowsky said. “I think it will be a great meeting place for the community.”
Thursday’s event will also include information about the CT Food Launchpad at Atticus, a program that helps food entrepreneurs from underserved groups supply their products to Connecticut grocers. The CT Food Launchpad kicked off in the fall with a cohort of Sanctuary Kitchen and Huneebee Project, whose new products created in collaboration with Atticus will be highlighted on Thursday.
Huneebee Project will showcase its salted honey tart, which is made with their own harvested honey. The social enterprise was founded by clinical social worker and beekeeper Sarah Taylor, who said it is “incredibly exciting” that the project’s honey is being used and appreciated at a long-standing business.
The CT Food Launchpad also helped Sanctuary Kitchen create its za’atar rolls, Syrian bread rolls and keyk kadoos, cardamom squash cakes.
The program fits into a larger support network for food entrepreneurs in New Haven — such as the Food Business Accelerator program, a program hosted by CitySeed and Collab New Haven, which helps to launch food businesses. Sumiya Khan, the program director at Sanctuary Kitchen, said the CT Food Launchpad builds off of the FBA program by creating an opportunity for businesses to test their products in a retail environment. This pipeline for early stage entrepreneurs creates an environment where business owners are supported throughout the process.
Atticus Market is located at 771 Orange St.