THE HISTORY OF MEISER'S GROCERY
What's in a Name?
Meiser's Parkview Market was an institution that served our city dating back to the 1940's. Shoppers in Lower Price Hill appreciated the sense of community and care that the family brought to their shopping experience--hiring local neighbors who would check in on them as they shopped and who knew their favorite purchases--and providing an abundance of fresh, nutritious foods.
So, when the Meiser family announced their retirement in 2017, neighbors took up the charge to build a community-led social enterprise by the people, and for the people. They surveyed each other about how a new market could look and created a vision, then partnered with Price Hill Will to begin renovations as a landlord for the old grocery while they created Your Store of the Queen City to incubate fundraising and operations for a replacement store. They decided to keep the name of Meiser's in honor of the family's brand and legacy, one that demonstrated the possibility of community-connectedness through a loving and neighborly business.
MEISER'S PARKVIEW MARKET - BEFORE
MEISER'S FRESH GROCERY & DELI - RENOVATIONS NOW
"Our families have been starting to see long term health issues from too many overpriced corner store meals. So we organized. We went door to door and took a survey about what our neighborhood wants and needs. It's more healthy foods, more fruits and vegetables, but no store wanted to bring that to us.
We said that's not okay with us. We spoke up. If we need to do it ourselves, then let's do it. Yes. Maybe then no one else can ever take it away again."
Ms. Marisha Davis
Lower Price Hill neighbor, Neighborhood Action Team leader, Community Matters board member, food entrepreneur and grandmother.
SMALL GROCERY, BIG IMPACT
Meiser's will be a safe, clean, trustworthy and friendly neighborhood grocery & deli that stocks all the essentials, with a little extra flavor added in by neighborhood foodmakers. We believe everyone deserves access to delicious, fresh and affordable nutritious food options--and the ability to help sustain that access for the long term.
That's why we're led by Lower Price Hill neighbors and local collaborators. Together, we're bringing fresh food back to our community. We're promoting well-being through a celebration of recipes and local traditions. We're creating hyper-local career paths. We're incubating and supporting adult and youth food entrepreneurs. We're building a caring space to connect with each other.
As a non-profit, we are legally directly responsible to our community--not a corporate owner, private investor, group or co-op. We hope the successes of our small, mighty model will create strategies to share with other food insecure neighborhoods locally and nationwide.
MAKING FRESH FOOD ACCESSIBLE
Your Store of the Queen City, believes that good, fresh food should not only be available to all, but at the BEST prices. This means we'll not only offer traditional retail that can be paid for with cash, credit, debit, SNAP, WIC, and other coupons; but that shoppers will also get to enjoy a range of products on the shelves that are available on a sliding scale donation basis, starting at $0.
Meiser's Fresh Grocery and Deli will carry a range of products, including fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy, bulk dry goods, spices, pantry staples, and foods. For the busy shopper, there will also be a small assortment of home goods, including personal and baby care, paper and cleaning products, and toiletries. Just as exciting, there will be a line of convenient, fresh, hyper-locally sourced prepared foods available on a grab-n-go basis.
SHARING RECIPES FOR WELLBEING
Food is a vital force through which we experience every day. Traditions of sharing rich home cooking permeate the history and culture of Lower Price Hill.
Generations of revered neighborhood bakers, chefs, and cooking group members are preparing to launch a recipe renaissance, to inspire creative exploration with fresh ingredients and spices.
These local recipes and the stories behind them will be featured in displays, print, and cooking demonstrations with free samples for all neighbors. From these foundations, displays and specials will be featured in-store to honor our neighborhood heritage of family-favorites.
GROWING JOBS AND ENTREPRENEURS
Meiser's Fresh Grocery and Deli is more than a food enterprise. It's a hyper-local launchpad for economic development with a commitment to financially empowering Lower Price Hill residents.
What does that look like? For starters, a commitment to hiring neighbors. And at the next level: Incubating youth and adult entrepreneurship with commercial food preparation programs; designating store space for local consignment and constructive feedback from shoppers--intentionally putting earnings directly into the pockets of LPH residents.
CULTIVATING COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS
"What I miss most about having a local store is that it was some place where you walk in to buy a coffee and they know you. Neighbors would know everything about what's going on. I live alone, and people asked how I'm doing."
Meiser's Fresh Grocery and Deli will be a pit stop for morning coffees and lunches. Students from Oyler School will pop in for snacks. It will be a place to grab a hot drink on a cold day. It will be a space where all people can connect organically over the commonality of food.
Staff will be trained in restorative practices of communication, character strengths, and responding to the needs of neighbors--connecting them to local news, events and resources. After all, everybody eats.
Empowering families in Cincinnati's battle against the pandemic.
This is what it means to be a community-based grocery.
Remember the feeling of panic when you were rushing to the grocery store for toilet paper, paper towels, and household cleaners--only to find the shelves completely bare?
During the most critical early periods of the pandemic, Meiser's helped Lower Price Hill families obtain products to protect themselves--free of charge. We used our wholesale grocery supply chain to source and donate scarce and in-demand household sanitation items to our most vulnerable neighbors. Meiser's distributed these items through nonprofit and school partners who already had an infrastructure in place to safely offer meals and other essentials.
This was all before Meiser's even opened its doors. And this is why it matters that Meiser's is a neighbor-led social enterprise.