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Some Jax Restaurants Pivot Into Grocery Sales While Dining Rooms Are Closed

A list of the grocery items available at Community Loaves is pictured.
Community Loaves
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A list of the grocery items available at Community Loaves is pictured.

As the COVID-19 shutdown continues, restaurants have had to adapt to keep their business running.

One of the ways some eateries have pivoted , especially fast-casual ones, is by selling a small selection of groceries to their customers. That’s in addition to switching to take out only.

Meredith Corey-Disch of Community Loaves in Jacksonville’s Murray Hill neighborhood explained why she made the transition on Wednesday’s First Coast with Melissa Ross.

“When this started, I sort of had an ethical dilemma of whether I still wanted employees to have to come into work or whether we would be furthering the spread of the virus ... It felt like if I was able to offer local producers another outlet for their produce, that maybe, they weren't able to sell to the restaurants right now, and if I could give folks a way to get groceries and not go through the anxiety of visiting the grocery store, that sort of gave us a way to keep coming to work - to work - and a way to support local farms.”

Community Loaves is selling dairy, eggs and fresh produce, all sourced in Florida. However, in order to make space for these new additions, Corey-Disch had to first crowd-source another refrigerator.

“Tons of great customers and friends and family jumped on board … [which] validated the decision to sell produce,” she shared.

Related: Listen to the full interview with Corey-Disch

Buying groceries at a restaurant allows patrons to avoid the crowds of a grocery store and support local businesses - both the producers and the restaurants themselves - through this difficult time. 

Related: Local, State, And National Coronavirus Coverage

A number of other locally-owned businesses are following a similar model to Community Loaves, selling produce and grocery items in addition to their menu items. They include:

  • Southern Roots in Riverside and Atlantic Beach is selling produce, vegan cheese and spreads.
  • Vagabond Coffee  in Murray Hill is selling milk, eggs, tofu, produce, poultry and meats.
  • 1748 Bakehouse in Springfield is selling milk, eggs, produce, granola, and coffee.
  • Prati Italia at the Markets at Town Center offers fresh pasta by the quart, spreads, and produce.
  • Taverna in San Marco is selling a selection of dry goods, dairy products, produce and other items.
  • McFlamingo in Ponte Vedra Beach is selling produce.

Some chains restaurants are also now selling grocery items:

  • Maple Street Biscuit Company, which was started in Jacksonville, is selling paper towels, toilet paper, soap, bottled water, chicken and pasta
  • Panera Bread has started a grocery service, selling vegetables and milk. 

Community Loaves is still selling their signature bread and pastries as well as their spreads, soup and hummus. 
Heather Schatz can be reached at hschatz@wjct.org or on Twitter at @heatherschatz.