Fresh produce, sandwiches, soup and more can be found at Campbell’s Market Basket, 547 E. Grand River Ave. The market officially opened on March 25.
Growing up in East Lansing, co-owners Ken Campbell and Perry Kaguni knew there was not much fresh produce offered downtown and considered it a “food desert.”
With Campbell’s Market Basket, the community has a health-conscious farmer’s market within walking distance.
“I think in this day and age people are way more conscious about what they’re eating,” Campbell said. “They want to know where their food is coming from, what’s in it, and they can see that just by looking at this store, I think. We want to put that presentation, have that show, where people can come somewhere fun, and it’s warm, it’s inviting. I consider us a farmer’s market.”
The market will be open year-round, and will be sourcing its produce from Michigan whenever possible. The produce is chosen in Detroit at a wholesale market.
“The benefit of that is that we get to go down there and pick out the best-quality produce. We physically see it. It’s not like most other stores that ship things around warehouses. The shelf life is extremely short for big-box stores, whereas we go direct to the source,” Campbell said. “If it’s coming off of a truck from Florida, or California, or Texas grapefruit for example.We get to see it as soon as it arrives in Michigan and we get to buy it.”
The owners take the fresh produce and put it into sandwiches made in-house.
“My favorite thing that we’ve been doing are these fresh deli sandwiches. They’re gourmet, original recipes that we’ve come up with,” Campbell said. “We’re incorporating some of the fresh produce that we use in those sandwiches. Whether it’s just the tomatoes, or the spring mix, or the lettuce, it makes it taste that much better. We’re making them right on the spot. You can expect that that sandwich was probably made right then or within the hour. We’re selling out of them, so it’s telling me that people really love it.”
Though Campbell and Kaguni are excited about Campbell’s Market Basket offerings, they are even more excited to build relationships within the community. The owners are open to recommendations and want to know what people would like in the store.
“The exciting part is to be able to talk to the people, like the students and my friends that come in here. They can tell us what they want and we can go get it. We’re in the position, we’re flexible, we’re small, independently owned, we can source anything we need to bring to the people and make it happen. That’s the fun part. We get to pick and choose what we want to carry and it’s dictated by our customers,” Campbell said.
For now, the owners are looking forward to warmer weather so that more people will be walking around downtown.
“I’d just like to thank the community because they come in here and have such a positive vibe,” Kaguni said. “They bring their friends, they tell their family and we’re getting routine customers already. People are coming in multiple times a day. Everybody’s just so nice.”