Leg Up market near Emigsville now open

Greg Gross

Surprise. Leg Up Farmers Market in Manchester Township opened a bit early.

The niche grocery store held a soft opening Monday, a little more than a week ahead of its official grand opening next week.

The few extra days it'll be open between now and the grand opening allows employees to get some on-the-job training, and customers should be aware of that, said Brad Clark, chief operating officer of the store.

"We are by no means perfect right now, and we know that," he said. "We're training. We're going to make mistakes."

Clark has been involved with the $4.4 million project since before ground was broken at the 23-acre site — the former Shiloh Nurseries property that most recently housed Brown's Farm Market & Garden Center, or Brown's North — in July.

The grocery store at 3100 N. George St. will hold its grand opening on Wednesday, March 16. Doors open at 7 a.m. The store will be open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Clark said.

Bailey Tate, 3 of Dover, holds a container while her mother Kara fills it with dried mango while shopping at the Leg Up Farmers Market soft opening, Monday, March 7, 2016. John A. Pavoncello photo

Spread the word: It didn't take long for people to find out about the surprise early opening.

Clark put a post alerting people to the store's early opening on Facebook and on Twitter about 10 a.m. Monday and by noon, customers were milling about, checking out the store and buying a few odds and ends.

That's how Krista Yingling, of West York, and Cristina Andrewleski, of Spring Grove, found out about the store's opening.

"I expected it to be cool. I didn't expect it to be this cool," Yingling said. "We don't have to go all the way to Maryland or Harrisburg" to shop at similar stores.

The pair, who work in York City and said getting healthy, local foods is important to them, dropped by the store about noon to try some of its freshly made sushi during their lunch break.

"I think it's a 10," Yingling said.

Some of the profits from the Leg Up Farmers Market will be used to help fund the nonprofit agencies Leg Up Farm and Able-Services, which falls under the umbrella of Leg Up Farm.

Buy fresh, buy local: Locally sourced and fresh foods are focal points of the store. The 18,700-square-foot store sells locally sourced produce, dairy products, meat and other items. Those items will come from farms within a 100-mile radius of the store.

The store also has a focus on customers interacting with employees and boasts a fully operational butcher department, said Clark, who previously worked for Whole Foods Market for about 20 years.

In the meat department, Clark went into a back room and brought out a freshly caught tilapia from a York County fish farm.

Leg Up Farmers Market COO Bradley Clark holds up a local, farm-raised tilapia brought in fresh for the Manchester Township store's soft opening, Monday, March 7, 2016. John A. Pavoncello photo

"This was swimming this morning," he said.

The store offers in-store roasted coffee; juice, smoothie and coffee bars; an artisan cheese selection; brick-oven artisan pizza and sandwiches; about 120 bulk items; along with the usual items found in grocery stores.

A special logo will alert customers to the local products, said Louis Castriota Jr., president and CEO of Leg Up Farm.

"Everything that's local will have that flag so people know it's local," he said.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.