Matt Thayer and Andy Fadous, the owners of the South Boston-based gourmet grocer American Provisions, the anchor commercial tenant in Trinity Financial’s new Treadmark building, introduced their concept of “creating community through real, authentic food” to welcoming community members at a meeting last week.
“We are really, really excited at the opportunity to come into this community,” Thayer told those gathered in All Saints Church. “Part of the reason we are here in Dorchester is that when we opened up in South Boston, the idea of being part of a community was really important to us. We think that food plays a really integral role and part of that, and that’s what we’d like to do.”
The opening of a Dorchester store at the corner of Dorchester Avenue and Fuller Street, across from the Ashmont T station and Trinity Financial’s existing Carruth building, is the first expansion for American Provisions, which originally set up shop at East Broadway and I Street in South Boston in December 2010.
The setup of the store at the Treadmark site will be “pretty much the same concept” as in South Boston, Thayer said. Artisanal meats, cheeses, and breads will be on sale alongside craft beers and curated wines. The new space, he added, will be larger than South Boston’s – 1,500 square feet to 1,000 square feet – and will have a small kitchen to whip up prepared foods and house-made items.
As is the case in South Boston, Thayer and Fadous plan to source locally as often as possible and host wine and beer tastings.
As to prices? Thayer said he understood the affordability concerns that were raised at the meeting. “Full transparency, it’s something that we’re super mindful of,” he said. “Our commitment is to sell real, authentic food, local as much as possible, made by actual people, so often those things are more expensive. That being said, I think there are opportunities that we would need to take advantage of in this market more so than we do in South Boston, to try to offer a range of products.”
Jonathan Hodge, of The Architectural Team, Inc., thinks American Provisions is an ideal tenant for the space. Commuters leaving the T station and those living or working around Peabody Square, he said, will have easy access to the shop, which would “enliven” the corner.
Erica Mattison, a resident of the Carruth building and a board member with Greater Ashmont Main Streets, said that interior and exterior seating would be an extra boon for the space. “I’m definitely hoping there will be at least a couple of seats,” she said, “because I think what was exciting was that this would be a place where people could come and meet and eat and have a sense of community, and you are filling a need in terms of your hours and your offerings and so, if there were not at least a few seats, I feel that that would be a missed opportunity for the neighborhood.”
The building is not envisioned as a cafe, the team said, though there may be seats and benches outside as sidewalk zoning allows. Shoppers would walk into the grocery area; the back of the shop would hold beer and wine; and “the jewel of the space,” the deli counter, will stand in the center of the store, Hodge said, noting that the team is building from the industrial history of the building, with wood, exposed concrete ceilings, and floors melding to “[create] that neighborhood market feel.”
The other two commercial spaces in the Treadmark buildings are 600 square feet and 1,800 square feet, said Chris Stanley of Trinity Financial. Tenants have not yet been secured for those parcels, he added.