Organic Market Set for Pre-Grand Opening
Grassroots Natural Market, opening in mid-April, will be a "new adventure" says its owner.
Morristown is getting ever closer to the grand opening of a new organic foods retailer that will feature familiar faces.
Patch introduced you to Grassroots Natural Market last October, and five months later, owner Paul Kralyevich, who has another location in Denville, is raring to go. His next big move will be to host an April 8 invitation-only event for loyal customers, contractors and other supporters.
And then "on or about April 15," he said, the new store will open officially at 66 Morris St., in the location of the Health Shoppe, a natural foods business that closed its doors last August.
Asked why he chose Morristown, Kralyevich ("It's Croatian; call me Paul," he said) was happy to share his story.
"I saw there was a definite need for this," he said. "[The Health Shoppe] was here for 20 years. It had a nice following and a good reputation. With the gentleman who owned it retiring, I could fill a need that was there already—and re-employ many of the good employees who worked there."
Kralyevich said many of the former staffers worked at the previous shop for decades. Now, he said, they'll work in a bright, modernized setting.
"It's a store that has essentially been rebooted with new equipment, new lighting, a brand new kitchen, a new computer system, new phones," he said enthusiastically. "It's up-to-date, whereas where the other one was getting long in the tooth, as they say."
Asked about how he found the old employees, he explained that many of them came to him when they heard about a new organic retailer moving into the Morris Street building.
"They wanted to stay in the industry," Kralyevich said. "A few I've employed in Denville full- or part-time in the interim. Some had a hiatus. But they're coming back."
Kralyevich said the hallmark of Grassroots Natural Market is service, discount prices and supporting the community.
"I support the Denville soccer team, the local music society, churches, St. Clare's Hospital and many other things, and we'll do the same in Morristown," he said, noting that he wants to support the Morristown Farmers Market. "If you give to the community, you get it back."
And gratitude is a big part of Kralyevich's worldview: He takes time to send out thanks to a man who perhaps was the one who made this new enterprise possible.
"When I knew that the Health Shoppe was closing, Paul Miller, director of sustainability in Morristown was kind enough to introduce me to the landlord of the property and he and I negotiated a lease over three months even before [the Shoppe] closed their doors. I owe Paul Miller a lot of gratitude for being the spark plug in all this."
Naturally, opening a new business comes with its challenges, especially considering his need to install new electrical and plumbing systems.
"Construction is never smooth sailing," he said with a laugh. "But that's all behind me now. Now we're just doing the last little things, dealing with inspections and a few more hoops to jump through."
Already, he said, Morristonians are excited.
"They're trying to come in even though we're still under construction," he said.
Having been in the organic foods business in Denville since 2005, he said the opening of a new Morristown location is a real boost for him.
"Denville is a great little town," he said. "The people have been great, and business is strong. I have a great staff of 28 people there, and it's no longer a real challenge.
"I needed a new adventure, and I am looking forward to it."
Grassroots' pre-opening party is by invite only, but you can purchase a special gift card if you would like to attend and get a sneak peek at the new store.
The party will be held on Monday, April 8 from 5-9 p.m. at 66 Morris Street, Morristown. Cards must be purchased by April 5 to attend the party. To get more information on obtaining one, visit the store's website.