by Angela Hotaling
In upstate New York there sits a small country style market named Otto’s. Hudson Valley Magazine awarded Otto’s with the title of best, new, local food market. The mission statement says it all: It aims “to be the best small grocery store in the Hudson Valley.” With a diversity of clientele ranging from farm families to New York City tourists, a good thing about Otto’s is it aims to “give the customers what they want!” This means that Otto’s shelves need to be stocked with a wide range of products at a range of approachable prices.
In order to be a long lasting business in such a small town, it really boils down to supply and demand. Otto Leuschal, the market’s owner, says that before he opened in the winter of 2008, he gathered a panel of Germantown residents to question them about what kinds of products they’d like to see in the store. He says before he consulted the panel, he would have had no idea to stock some of the items that were mentioned. This kind of dedication is what counts. With so many stores that have superfluous products overflowing the shelves, Otto’s gets to the point of grocery shopping.
Pleasing the people of the town, whether temporary or permanent residents, Otto says that he intends on selling to everyone. He has basic brands that are familiar to all families alongside natural, organic and even imported products from overseas. With such a diversity of products ranging from European Marmite to local milks, breads, and coffees, Otto keeps the store organized, attractive, and convenient.
What is especially convenient about Otto’s is that it is located in the center of Germantown on Main Street. The closest chain-style grocery store is at least ten minutes away. Those who live in town can easily walk to Otto’s in the morning to get a cup of hot, traditionally made coffee or a homemade pastry. It puts the convenient back in convenience store. Walking or riding a bike to the store saves energy, time, and money.
What’s even better is Otto’s commitment to inspiring other local businesses to emerge in town. With three spaces for rent within view from Otto’s window, he says that he fully supports and hopes that other businesses will set up shop in town. Supporting the community through recognition, sensitivity, and delicious food helps bring people together in a unifying and friendly way. Otto’s Market sets up the possibility and reassures community members that care and consideration are key values to employ both personally and professionally.
Furthermore, valuing the quality of locally grown produce and products is the kind of mentality that encourages people to be more aware of what they are doing regarding food and how they are doing it. Otto’s awareness and conscious effort to make a difference on a small level is the kind of thinking that can be applied to various green product lines that have good intentions but at times oversell, over commercialize, and encourage materialism in a counterproductive way. When we begin to be more conscious of the products that we consume there is potential for less overconsumption and more sustainable living.
For more information regarding Otto’s Market, visit their website at OttosMarket.com.