One January evening many years ago, I left my downtown Boston apartment and hopped on the subway to visit friends in the neighborhood of Jamaica Plain, on the city’s southwest edge. My assignment as a dinner guest was simple, to bring ice cream for our gathering. As I walked from the subway stop to my friends’ home, I stopped by a tiny little food store, the City Feed and Supply, to pick up the ice cream. Filled with organic products and local goods, the store so charmed me that I thought, hey, if the neighborhood can support a store like this, then maybe I should move here.
A possible move to Jamaica Plain turned out to be the main topic of dinner conversation with my friends. I would eventually contact a real estate broker and begin looking at places, with an eye toward buying a condo — my first-ever foray into home ownership. As luck would have it, later that year I would buy a place practically across the street from the very City Feed store that originally inspired my decision!
From the time I moved to Jamaica Plain until last fall, visits to the City Feed were practically a daily occurrence for me, with frequent runs for their delicious sandwiches (award winning, in fact), pastry, and coffee, as well as other sundries. The friendliness of the young group of store workers, many of whom are students and/or deeply engaged in artistic and creative work when not doing their shifts, was always part of the pleasure of going there. I also was delighted to support a locally owned, socially conscious business that thoroughly invested itself in the neighborhood.
In the meantime, co-owners and founders David Warner and Kristine Cortese would open a much larger store in the main drag of my neighborhood, replete with cafe space and an enhanced food menu. I would visit there on occasion and enjoyed the greater variety, but thank goodness my favorite “Little Feed” continued to thrive even after the arrival of “Big Feed.”
Alas, the Little Feed had to close down last fall, thanks to a need for significant, overdue repairs and renovations to its building. The City Feed owners expressed their hopes of re-opening, but not until very recently were they able to share plans to reopen the Little Feed and purchase the building that houses it. In order to raise money for the endeavor, they announced a neighborhood-based crowdfunding campaign, inviting loyal customers to buy stored value cards and house spending accounts, which in turn would give them a reserve of cash for a down payment and to restock the store.
Just days into this crowdfunding campaign, they already are closing in on their target amount, a huge testament to David and Kristine and the goodwill they and their employees have engendered in the neighborhood. As for me, I was only too happy to sign up for one of the big house accounts, knowing that I will once again be a regular visitor to the Little Feed. (Let’s just say that I’ll be covered for several hundred sandwiches and coffees and leave it at that!)
Without the Little Feed open and busy across the street, my part of the ‘hood has felt a little bereft. Such has been the place of that tiny storefront in my everyday life. But now it is about to rise again, and I’m happy to be a customer truly invested in its success.