The former County Market on West White Oaks Drive in Springfield is preparing to reopen as the country’s second Harvest Market, a health-oriented grocery store focused on providing farm-to-table options. In anticipation of a mid-November opening, Quincy-based Niemann Foods, Inc. is currently hiring workers to fill approximately 200 positions.
According to Gerry Kettler, Niemann’s director of consumer affairs, the Springfield Harvest Market will have a different staff than the former County Market. In an interview earlier this year, Kettler told SBJ, “Not everybody that worked at the County Market will stay at this store. Some of them will go to other stores, and we’re having to bring in new talent and also retrain some existing talent.”
The first Harvest Market opened in Champaign in 2016, and Kettler described Harvest Market as “a whole new way to shop for groceries.”
“It very much connects the consumer to the land and to the producers, with a strong emphasis on local, fresh, organic, natural and health. It’s a good mix of healthy and traditional mainstream groceries,” Kettler said.
Kettler said the concept of Harvest Market often reminds people of Whole Foods, but he differentiated between the two.
“That’s not what we are. We let people make the decision if they want to buy Oreos or if they want to buy organic fruit. We’ll have it all, so it’s a little different than just a typical health food store. The main [objective] of it is connecting our consumers to the makers and producers that are preparing their food,” Kettler said.
Harvest Market will also include a bar, a restaurant and a mezzanine. Champaign’s Harvest Market has a delicatessen, which includes a sushi bar, salad bar, chef-prepared meals, a cheese shop and more. Another of Harvest Market’s unique features is the butter churning room, where customers are able to connect with local farmers and learn about the butter making process.
Harvest Market also makes a health and wellness adviser available to the public. Individuals will be able to make appointments, and there is a classroom in the store for larger groups to learn about different diets.
Niemann Foods currently has five County Market locations in Springfield, in addition to the former Shop ‘n Save property at the corner of Chatham and Wabash. The company is holding open interviews in the parking lot of the former Shop ‘n Save from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Job seekers can also view current job openings and apply online at www.jobsnfi.com.