Skyway locavores, your lives are about to get simpler. A new convenience store emphasizing local and organic grab-and-go grub is set to open in the Six Quebec building on Marquette Avenue during the last week of August.
Simpls is the brainchild of Ryan Rosenthal and Michael von Fange, who met in grade school, remained friends through high school and college, and are now roommates. Their vision for Simpls was to take the feel of a farmers market and place it indoors.
"I'm constantly on the go and the problem was I couldn't find good food conveniently. There's always a trade off. If I wanted something quick, it's gonna be low quality food," von Fange says. "I went to Ryan and he had similar issues, so that's essentially where Simpls was born. We like to say we're redefining convenience."
Though Simpls will offer some conventional foods, von Fange estimates that 80 to 90 percent of the store's offerings will be local and/or organic.
Local products available at the shop include Buddy's Small Batch Nut Butters (think chocolate peanut and cinnamon nut flavors), WholeMe (preservative-free bars and granola), Seven Sundays (gourmet muesli), and Cool Jerk (beef jerky). Other products include fruit cups, yogurt, muffins, smoothies, nuts, and vegetables. Sandwiches, soups, and wraps will be made at Common Roots using local vegetables when possible.
Rosenthal and von Fange started their quest to open the store last October, were financed in March, and created their Facebook page in June, which they have since used to promote local farmers markets and publicly source ideas for ideas on what to offer in the store.
If their first store is successful, von Fange and Rosenthal hope to open a few more in the Minneapolis skyway and possibly one in St. Paul's skyway. Eventually, they'd like to carry the concept over to gas stations.
"If you look at the food in the skyway now, it's full of burger joints, pizza places, and Asian joints, so that was one thing," von Fange says. "The other thing is the demographic down there is exactly what we're looking for. They're younger professionals, they have money, they're constantly on the go. They're getting into healthier lifestyles and they're willing to pay for it."
Send your story tips to Hot Dish.