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    Tuesday, June 18, 2024

    New Montville market brings a fresh approach

    Darlene Soper shops at Best Fresh Foods in Montville on Thursday, May 23, 2024. (Daniel Drainville/The Day)
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    Best Fresh Foods in Montville on Thursday, May 23, 2024. (Daniel Drainville/The Day)
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    From left shopper Ed Parchaiski Jr. and co-owners Scotty Horner and Stephany Buanomano at Best Fresh Foods in Montville on Thursday, May 23, 2024. (Daniel Drainville/The Day)
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    Customers shop at Best Fresh Foods in Montville on Thursday, May 23, 2024. (Daniel Drainville/The Day)
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    Montville ― When 56-year-old resident Mary Mowan told her daughter Elizabeth that a new fresh foods market opened Thursday right down the street from their home, the two drove to check it out.

    Once inside, Elizabeth was happy with what she saw so she loaded up her cart with chicken, eggs, Boston baked beans, nuts and a watermelon.

    “I’m just glad there’s a store around here that has real, fresh food and supports farmers,” she said.

    She joined many others who perused the shelves of the new fresh foods market, Best Fresh Foods at 610 Route 32, as it opened on Thursday.

    Co-owner and Montville native Scotty Horner said people had been lined up more than an hour before the doors opened at 10 a.m.

    Horner said he cares about the quality of food he sells, which unfortunately, he said isn’t always the case with chain stores.

    “It’s become a food desert with some of the food chains,” Horner said. “There’s not a desire to serve people.”

    “This is about a lot more than fresh food, this is a labor of love,” he added. “We just felt like the people of southeastern Connecticut, actually, of Connecticut, deserved a little bit more.”

    Co-owner Stephany Buanomano added that “local” is what the two are all about

    And customers, who came out in waves to check out the store’s offerings, remarked about the high quality and low cost of the items they saw.

    “I think their prices are good, and it’s fresh,” said 61-year-old resident Darlene Soper, who had a cucumber and tomato in her shopping cart and said she’d be coming back often.

    “I think it’s really cool,” said 55-year-old Gales Ferry resident Ed Parchaiski Jr. as he waited in line for one of two registers at the market. “It’s small, it’s good, it’s convenient for people.”

    Parchaiski added that he missed Beit Brothers, a well-known supermarket that once inhabited the space right next to Best Fresh Foods in the same plaza.

    In the months leading up to the opening on Thursday, owners Horner and Buonomano had been posting regular updates on Facebook about their partnerships with small businesses. Horner, whose experience in produce dates back to his teenage years, said those partnerships are part of what stock the market’s shelves.

    Much of the produce is bought directly from Confreda Greenhouses & Farms, a 102-year-old farm in West Cranston, R.I.

    “They’re my best friends. They go from seed to table,” Horner said.

    Horner picked up a pack of hot peppers from a small Canadian business whose owner he met on networking website LinkedIn. Those and other items have been tested by him and Buonomano.

    Many customers wore smiles as they left the store.

    “That’s our mantra – buying food should be fun,” Horner said.

    d.drainville@theday.com

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