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Raw Market Brings Organic Option to Girdwood

by | Jul 9, 2024 | Featured, News, Retail, Small Business

Michelle Young and James Glover switched from a construction business to selling organic vegetables and fruits at the Raw Market in Girdwood.

Photo Credit: Alaska Business

Despite the half-hour drive to Anchorage proper, Girdwood is hardly a vegetable desert. Residents of the resort town can find fresh salad fixings at Crow Creek Mercantile. And shoppers with a taste for organic whole foods have a new option, too, right across Girdwood Town Square. Raw Market, a boutique-style produce shop, opened for business on July 2, just ahead of the busiest days of the summer during the Girdwood Forest Fair.

Natural and Local

Raw, to co-owner James Glover, means “in its most natural, unadulterated form.” The shop prioritizes local foods and locally made items. Raw Market stocks fresh produce, meat, and dairy, as well as bulk grains and spices, potted plants, cleaning supplies, housewares, and sundries.

The layout is open and spacious, partly because the brand-new store is still securing suppliers to fill the shelves. The contrast with the jam-packed Merc (as locals call the Girdwood grocery), shelves piled high with canned goods, is palpable. Co-owner Michelle Young says she believes grocery shopping should be an enjoyable activity, an opportunity to connect with neighbors.

Raw Market also sells cold-pressed juice bottled at a commercial kitchen in the Anchorage Bowl, and smoothies are also on the menu. Young says she plans to add salads and soups to the menu as the business expands.

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Alaska Business July 2024 Cover

July 2024

The food and beverage business is a switch from Young and Glover’s previous occupation in construction. Young says her husband wanted to pursue other interests, and they were inspired by markets they saw while visiting Hawai’i.

“In Maui, it seems like there’s a natural foods store in or a juice bar in every town, even if it’s a small town,” Young says. “We wanted to bring that here.”

As a “refillery,” Raw Market encourages customers to bring their own containers when buying bulk spices or grains.

Photo Credit: Alaska Business

Whereas the Merc stocks grocery staples that Girdwoodians need (without taking a trip into Anchorage), Raw Market appeals to shoppers’ special wants. Young says the shop is adopting the “refillery” model, where customers bring reusable containers to be filled with bulk goods. The same low-impact ethos goes into the inventory of organic potatoes, onions, and greens.

“Sourcing organic produce in Alaska is difficult in general,” Young admits, “but we have vendors that we’re working with who are super helpful. They’re revamping their own system to be able to produce more organic stuff for us.”

Young adds that her husband sees Raw Market as one part of a larger system too. “His dream ultimately is to have aquaponics greenhouses. He created his own aquaponics system, and he wanted to have an outlet for it,” she says. In essence, Glover is building a supply chain backward.

The building on Holmgren Place, which was previously a thrift shop, has plenty of space to expand. The sales floor currently occupies just the front half. The under-construction website, too, appears abbreviated: rawmarket.co. Young points out that “rawmarket.com” was too expensive to register.

Alaska Business Magazine July 2024 cover
In This Issue
Best of Alaska Business 2024
July 2024
Welcome to the 2024 Best of Alaska Business special section! For the ninth time we invited our readers to tell us which Alaska businesses they love the most, this year in forty-four categories. Throughout the month of March, you told us who should be featured in these pages, and we're thrilled to be able to publish the results.
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