A chat with Shelley Scoggin, owner of The Market in Greenport

Shelley and Chelsea Scoggins. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Shelley and Chelsea Scoggins. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Established 30 years ago this March, The Market is both a village grocer, providing healthy food options and personal care products, as well as a café. Both areas of this Front Street shop offer organic ingredients and minimally processed (clean!) foods.

The Market was born from owner Shelly Scoggin’s desire to find a healthier way of living for her family. At the time she had a new baby on the way and finding a source for organic food options on the North Fork was nearly impossible. That’s when she knew it was the right time to open her market.

Today, you’ll find a wide variety of organic produce, vitamins, personal care products and gluten-free foods on the shelves. The Market’s menu is creative and spans breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as smoothies and desserts. We chatted with Scoggin in the corner of her café one afternoon at lunchtime and found out more about this gem of a health food store and eatery.

Q:  How do you source your products and decide which ones to carry?

A: We follow the trends and we try to stock every type of pantry ingredient you would need, but in an organic version. Once I pick a category, I select by finding the right balance of best quality, best price point and best company.

Q: Who creates your market menu?

A: My daughter is very involved and helps with the menu, along with my staff members, who are almost like family. Our business model is much more of a family style. If someone has an idea, we encourage staff to run it by me and I consider each one. I want to see our business grow, so we try to pick what you will not typically find anywhere else.

Q: What is your favorite item on the menu?

A: The Popeye Wrap is my favorite.

Q: The ambiance is very welcoming and calming in The Market and café. Was there any special planning that went into the design choices?

A: A lot of thought went into it. I was an art major before I went into this business. Having a children’s play area was important to me, along with the unusual, fun color to make it much more than a boring rectangle. It was a work of love. We put the effort in and wanted to get it right.

Q: You are kid-friendly as well. We particularly appreciate your dedicated children’s play area. Do you have any suggested food items for the little ones?

A: Some people think that the play area we have is a waste of retail space, but I want parents to feel comfortable shopping and eating here while their kids are busy. As for foods, we cover the mainstream items such as grilled cheese and hot dogs, both organic. There is a chicken cutlet and other things that are approachable for the little ones without scaring them, but are simply clean and use healthy ingredients parents can feel good about. Of course, they go through stages with eating and we know that. We also get a kick out of seeing kids eat more adventurous things like a tofu salad.

Q: Is your family involved in the operations?

A: Everyone in my family has worked here at some point. My eldest daughter, who I was pregnant with when I started this business, has been here a lot. She has a passion and talent for baking, bringing it to a new level with vegan tarts and such. My husband comes and deals with shoveling and light bulb changing. It is totally a family thing!

(Credit: Vera Chinese)

(Credit: Vera Chinese)

Q: What would you most want people to know about The Market if they were new to the area or visiting for the first time?

A: Anything they choose to eat here is clean. We have already done the research. They can trust what this store offers. We have integrity in that artificial color, artificial flavor and GMOs are the top three things you will not find here.

Q:  What kinds of changes have you noticed about the visitors to Greenport and the overall tourism trends since you began?

A: We have transitioned from just summer visitors to more second-home owners from Brooklyn and the New York metro area. I ask them what they think or would like to see on the shelf. We ask for their feedback on specific products and brands. The conversation usually starts from a customer stating, “I like your selection.” Then we ask about their favorites. It introduces us to new things and keeps us interesting, growing in the right direction. My staff utilizes social media often to keep up with new trends, which is very helpful.

Q: What is your favorite thing about Greenport Village?

A: Since our kids are grown and out of the house now, we don’t go out a lot. We do like Little Creek Oysters and [Greenport Harbor Brewing Co.]. Both are very laid back, which is perfect.

Q: What do you do during your time off?

A: After a full day of everybody here in season, I go back home to Cutchogue and I like enjoying some quiet time just relaxing. We have friends over and I cook at home. My kids, on the other hand, love visiting the wineries.

The Market is located at 44 Front Street, Greenport, (631) 477-8803. themarketgreenport.com