“Living Local” Pays Off for Quincy Entrepreneur
Live Like a Local.
It’s a simple concept, really. Build relationships. Support your community. Be healthy. Invest in the future.
And for Quincy’s Michele Wilkerson, this philosophy has become not only a personal mantra, but a livelihood.
“To start a business and build a new market, be fearless in who you are. Stay true to your passion and trust in the community surrounding you,” she says.
And for two years now, the 34-year-old yoga instructor and founder of Quincy’s Grown -N- Gathered, has done just that.
With Grown -N- Gathered, Wilkerson envisioned an outlet for those seeking a sustainable and locally-grown grocery outlet. The result? A thriving operation Wilkerson describes as “part farmers’ market, part grocery store, part family kitchen”.
Grown -N- Gathered is more than a just a storefront. It’s the embodiment of what can happen when a community comes together to achieve a common goal. To quote its founder, Grown -N- Gathered is a “social movement”.
Grown -N- Gathered is a full line grocer supplying products locally grown or locally gathered. Wilkerson derived the Grown -N- Gathered concept in 2014 after meeting a network of Quincyans who, like Michele, expressed a desire for a non-conventional grocery option free from processed, big brand food items.
“We are your neighborhood local grocer,” Wilkerson explains. “If we can’t source it locally, we will source it organically.”
And after two years at 729 Hampshire, Grown -N- Gathered has…ahem…outgrown its current space and will soon be relocating to a much larger site at 601 Maine (former site of Everything & The Kitchen Sink). Featuring a full kitchen and coffee bar, the new location will allow Wilkerson and her four-person staff to host cooking classes and generate new products from locally-grown ingredients.
The new site is scheduled to open in mid-August.
But don’t let the larger space serve as any indication that Grown -N- Gathered is preparing (nor willing) to become a "box store brand".
“We like to stay small, working with local producers and knowing our customers by name," Wilkerson says.
Coming to fruition by way of Wilkerson’s own savings and a small SBA loan, Grown -N- Gathered is quickly becoming one of Quincy’s most talked about ventures. Wilkerson is thankful for the people of Quincy and the surrounding areas for making her dream a reality.
“The support from the community has been great. The forward-thinking, health conscious individuals have expressed their gratitude more than I knew was possible.”
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