The Reynolds Grocery Co. opened on a quiet corner of Frankfort Avenue in May 2013, and over the past year, owner Sean Reynolds says business has grown, slowly but surely.
Reynolds likes to think of the shop as an ingredients-based grocery store, offering a wide variety of pantry items like herbs and grains, teas and other spices in bulk. They also supply local and seasonal vegetables, honey and meat.
“Like anything, it takes time for people to know you’re there and get with your clientele, but it’s moving in the right direction, absolutely,” Reynolds says. “We have regular customers now who come in to pick up the basics and others who come from all over that are looking for that specific thing only we have.”
Reynolds says his success is due in part to the sense of community that surrounds Louisville and his dedication to buying, selling and staying local.
“I’m a part of this community, and I am one of the few businesses on this side of Clifton,” Reynolds says. “Anything that I can do to be a part of the community to boost food and farming, but to also boost the music and storytelling crowd or anything else… I’m interested in having this opportunity.”
At first Reynolds had trouble getting his name out to the public. However, he says his unique products and guarantee of high quality has helped him grow.
“There are a lot of other places in town that do things like I do,” Reynolds says. “However, I felt that this end of town wasn’t being given the opportunity to reach out and find local food as readily.”
Reynolds says the idea of owning his own grocery came to him after he had a conversation with his great aunt in August 2012.
“The conversation I had with her really broke down the way we think of food as a part of a community,” Reynolds says. “She explained how now it’s almost like we’re letting others make our eating decisions for us. Just her saying that made me realize that there was a way we used to do things that worked for us for a very long time, and we’ve drifted away from the connection to our food, which is a connection to our community. I wanted to bring that idea back within Louisville.”
Reynolds’ friend Michael Tierney says he is amazed by how far the shop has come in the first year. Tierney’s business, the Louisville Fish Co., is a supplier for Reynolds Grocery Co.
“Buying locally is not some sort of idea of charity — it’s about quality,” Tierney says. “I think Sean saw that. When you buy a product from Reynolds Grocery, you know you’re getting the best. There’s no dyes, no hormones, it comes right from the farm to the store.”
Tierney says he likes doing business with Reynolds because of his passion for local food and his trustworthiness. He says he can attest to the fact that the product will be fresh because he knows Reynolds grows some products in the back of store.
“Sean is transcending the entire grocery store experience back to how it used to be. He’s bringing it back to that sort of mom and pop feel,” Tierney says. “His store really shows what great quality of goods that Kentucky has to offer.”
Reynolds grew up in a small town of 2,000 people, which he says inspires how he runs his business.
“I knew the librarian and I knew the guy who cooked pizza at the only shop in town,” Reynolds says. “I didn’t know that it was ‘buying local’ because that’s all there was. I just enjoyed knowing these people and having them in my life.”
Reynolds says he “always has plans for the future.” Currently, he’s working with local breweries to create a local growler service.
Reynolds wants people to know that when they come to his store, they are getting the best quality items at the best prices, and more importantly, the money is put back into the community.