We recently spent some time at Outpost Richmond, exploring the exciting concept of a bike shop merged with a grocery store. Outpost Richmond opened in November of 2016 at 4813 Forest Hill Ave. Outpost was founded by Braden Govoni, Ethan Lindbloom, and Mark North, a trio of avid cyclists who met through the local bike scene. In May 2017 they added a fourth partner and grocery manager, Marie Woznicki. Their two-sided business model features half of the floor functioning as a full-service bike shop, with bikes, accessories and apparel for sale. The other half of Outpost is a market that sells dry goods, dairy products, eggs, meat, produce, beer and wine. The inspiration behind the market-bike shop combo was to provide some basic essentials to cyclists who stopped in on their ride or for service. The idea evolved during their quest for a location as they saw that the Forest Hill/Westover Hills neighborhood would benefit from a more filled out small market.
Q & A with one of the owners of Outpost, Braden Govoni
Describe yourself in 3 words: Passionate, motivated, bikes
How does your business fit into the local food community? We are focused on solving meal problems for food consumers by providing a diverse mix of both ingredients to make a home cooked meal and also providing a grab and go option for those who prefer it. We created the market for a customer base that has a good connection to overall health, well being, and to the outdoors. We wanted a place that contributed to the health of our neighborhood. We are a community minded business. We want to dispel the bike shop aurora and be very accessible to the consumer.
What does “local food” mean to you? Local food is so important. It builds the local economy, supports local farmers and producers. I get to physically shake the makers hands when they deliver to the shop. When my customers buy the bread we carry from Jay at Idle Hands Bread Company it’s putting food on his table at home. I love being able to put a face to a vendor and have a product I feel good about selling.
From your perspective, what’s the one thing people should be aware of when they shop for food? People need to think about where anything they buy is coming from – not just their food. We hope to help guide people to make better purchasing decisions whether that’s from a health standpoint or a broader economic standpoint.
What can Richmond do to improve it’s local food scene? We need better educated consumers. The more information people have, the better decisions they can make. As a new business a big part of our growth is getting people to change their purchasing habits – to support the neighborhood, and gain a better understanding of why it’s important to shop local. We are a micro approach to a market – an accessible place that people can walk or bike to. We want people to get out of their cars, out of their box, and into the world. We want to encourage a slower pace, and a more observant community.
What’s your favorite meal? A really good cut of local steak, asparagus and potatoes.
The folks at Outpost approach bicycles and food in a similar way. “Quality goods and services to fuel the active biker, hiker, runner, birder, or just a busy family.” We applaud Outpost for the wide variety of local products present on their shelves and in their cold cases – they even carry a locally made bike! We are excited to welcome them as a member of Real Local RVA.
Their commitment to the community is evident in their “Ride to Re-entry” Program. Through this program they bring mobility to Richmond’s neediest and hardest-working residents: its employed citizens returning from incarceration. The “Ride to Re-entry” partners with OAR (Opportunity Alliance Re-entry) of Richmond to provide select clients with bicycles, locks, lights, and helmets, as well as bike maintenance and bike safety courses. This partnership seeks to overcome a fundamental obstacle of re-entry: transportation. What an amazing program!
So, next time you’re driving by, stop in and check out both sides of Outpost, you can give your body the gift of exercise and nourishment all in one stop.