The team at Green Valley Marketplace has big shoes to fill after taking over the former Lauer’s Supermarket & Bakery site in Chesterfield Plaza on October 3. Rick Rodgers, COO of B. Green & Company, feels they’re up to the task.
B. Green & Company — a third-generation, family-owned business run by its president, Benjy Green, and Ben and Bernice Sigman — owns Green Valley Marketplace. Having a customer-first mindset like the Lauer family has helped them in the transition of the store.
“We are a local and family-owned company and have been in business since 1915, so this location just felt like the right fit for us. We are really excited to be here in Pasadena,” Rodgers said. “You will see the same staff, from the store manager down to the cashier who greets you at the checkout. They are a great group of employees and the customers love them, so making them part of the Green Valley family was always part of the plan.”
Rodgers said some changes have been made already and more are coming.
“We had only two days to turn the store around,” Rodgers said. “We have made some changes, but we are doing our best to combine the best of what Lauer’s and Green Valley offer for the customer. When you think about it, the two companies have almost 150 years in the grocery business and have developed great products and offerings for their customers. We acquired the name and recipes of Lauer’s Luscious Bakery and plan on continuing to offer all the delicious products Lauer’s is known for. We’re so excited about the bakery, we are going to start selling the products in our other Green Valley locations. The Lauers have built a tremendous following and reputation with their bakery and we believe it’s as good as any in the area, so we’re not changing, we’re expanding.”
While many of the store’s offerings are “not changing but expanding,” there is one noticeable addition: a seafood department.
“We make all of our own crab cakes and crab balls,” Rodgers said. “We have an expanded variety of fish and shrimp. As we get into next season, we will offer live and steamed crabs from our crab house that will open in April. We get most of our crabs locally, but at the start of the season, we get them from Louisiana, North Carolina, Virginia, until Maryland crabs are available, so we’re able to offer crabs from the end of April to about the beginning of November.”
Customers can grab a signature gourmet crab pretzel or browse the store’s many chef-prepared, ready-to-eat meals and side dishes.
“We kept many of the Lauer’s store-prepared salads, like the redskin potato salad and coleslaw, but we’ve introduced some new items, like flatbread pizza, chicken salad, seafood salad, shrimp salad and broccoli crunch to name a few, so be sure to ask for samples when you’re at the deli,” Rodgers said. “Our salads, fried chicken, dips, crab cakes and entrees — it’s all freshly made daily. Most stores are using thaw-and-serve products for their meals to go. We’re making them fresh every day.”
The changes don’t stop with the fresh foods. Green Valley Marketplace’s Eat Right Live Well program includes a broad selection for health-conscious shoppers, with many of the products hand-selected by an onsite holistic nutritionist. The store even offers CBD products, which have the benefits of the cannabis plant without the potential drawbacks of psychoactive compounds.
“Our Better for You products include gluten-free, organic and holistic items,” said Rodgers, who also emphasized the value of Green Valley’s own brands including Essential Everyday; Culinary Circle, which offers restaurant-inspired food; and Wild Harvest, which is Green Valley’s brand of organic and natural products.
Shoppers will also find local brands including Wockenfuss Candies, Michele’s Granola, Zeke’s Coffee and Rise Up Coffee. The staff intends to have plenty of samples for people to try.
“There are a lot of great local items and companies we carry, from fresh-picked apples from Baugher’s Farm to Zeke’s locally roasted premium coffee,” Rodgers said. “They’re Maryland companies that do a great job. These products are marked throughout the store, so if customers see a crab on a product, that denotes it’s from Maryland.”
That commitment to the local area goes beyond products, Rodgers explained. Green Valley Marketplace participated in the Pasadena Business Association’s Caring & Sharing parade, as Lauer’s did for so many years. More than 100 kids attended the store’s Halloween costume contest, which also treated youth to a moon bounce, gift bags and a best costume award. Once spring arrives, Green Valley will hold other events: community yard sales, crab sales in the parking lot, farmers markets and other events where Green Valley will donate a portion of the proceeds to local organizations.
“It’s a way to give back since we don’t have a million dollars like some of our corporate competitors,” Rodgers said.
Altogether, Rodgers expects most of the changes to come within the store’s first three months in business. He reiterated that B. Green wants to build on the Lauer’s legacy, not forget it, a goal that will be accomplished by making customer service the priority.
“We have four stores — Arnold, Elkridge, Timonium and now Pasadena — which have the same name, but we have some different things in each store because we listen to what the customers want,” Rodgers said. “That’s the relationship we have, and we listen to what they want. Our employees know the customers’ names and they know our names.”