Local restaurateurs of authentic Mexican food, The Mayan, boldly state that, “Food is our passion.” When we look around the community at small businesses, restaurants, grocers and more; passion is almost always an absolute. It’s this passion for good food, community connection, pride of craftsmanship, and oftentimes a little grit and sheer will that drives makers to make, and creators to create. Our community has a wealth of small businesses, (too many to list!) pouring their hearts into their work. They are shining examples of entrepreneurship, and are exactly the types of products that local grocers Ralph’s and Bayview Thriftways are committed to offering to their customers.
Pamela Richmond would like you to know that “You are a Big Deal!” So much so that it’s even printed on the back of her gourmet coffee bags. Pamela has based her business around the idea that coffee is more than just a hot beverage. It’s a transformative experience, one that knits us as a society together. “Coffee is joy,” she says. “Coffee is often at the center of life.” She is a firm believer that when people are happy and working well together, the community grows. Making people happy is paramount to Pamela, and they are happy indeed once they try her coffee.
Big Blend, Ethiopia Harrar and Columbia are all available at Thriftway. They are small-batch coffees, and come in 12-ounce bags that have been roasted to perfection. Pamela studied at coffee school before bringing Big Bean to the masses, and her obsession with the sourcing and roasting process from start to finish makes for an exceptional gourmet coffee.
“We cannot thank Thriftway enough for all of their support,” says Jody Eygabroad. “They were our first wholesale account in 1998 and they have been one of the biggest supporters of Johnson Smokehouse products.”
You are likely already familiar with smoked meats and cheeses Johnson’s has been offering to our community for nearly four decades. They are beloved in our town, and nowadays throughout the Pacific Northwest. Their unique take on trail mix, (all meat and cheese!) is their most popular product.
In March of 2019, a horrific fire brought down the family business, but that hardly meant that they were giving up. Like a phoenix, they raised up a temporary farm stand to continue selling while they construct their new retail store opening this fall.
You can get 11 flavors of their smoked sausages and smoked bacon, at both Thriftway locations, along with 7 jerky varieties and of course, the trail mix. The bite sized pieces come in four unique flavors: Cascade Mountain Blend, Northwest Blend, Sweet & Spicy Teriyaki and Spicy Southwest.
If you’ve been fortunate enough to dine on The Mayan’s authentic Mexican cuisine at one of their three locations, you know that their salsas and dips are incredible. Much to the delight of the community they can now be purchased at Thriftway in the Deli Department. There’s a red salsa, available in hot or mild, a queso dip, and a salsa verde. Grab a bag of locally made tortilla chips, and you’ve got yourself a great snack. Or meal. No judgements, it’s that delicious!
Scott and Kristi Ensign, creators of Claddagh Coldbrew have “been focused on hand crafting the very best in cold brewed coffee since March of 2016.” Their beverages have been for sale at Thriftway since the outset. “Our passion to create and share the best cold brew, stems from a belief that coffee is all about community and relationships,” Scott shares. “We start by sourcing the best coffee available and get that through Covabrelli Coffee, another local producer who is dedicated to producing an amazing product.
Lou Nemeth, owner of Covabrelli Coffee is a certified organic roaster and only sources organic, sustainable coffees of the highest quality. That is where we begin, with small batch, carefully roasted organic coffee, then slowly brewed over 18 hours with cyclic agitation, controlled temperature and three-stage filtration. The end product is clean and balanced, with wonderful round flavors of chocolate, caramel/toffee and malt but without the acidity associated with ‘hot brewed’ coffee.”
You can taste Scott and Kristi’s labor of love, (and Lou’s too!), in ready-to-drink half liters, or in concentrate form, which makes more than 16 cups of coffee. Both products can be found at Thriftway in the reach-in cooler in the produce department of both Ralph’s and Bayview.
All of your take-and-bake pizza dreams have come true: Vic’s now offers their signature 14-inch pizza ready to take and bake. Many people feel the same as the sign hanging over the dedicated refrigerator suggests, “Olympia’s Best Local Pizza!”
There is a plain cheese ready to gnosh straight up, or add your own variety of toppings. There’s also a pepperoni available for the die-hard pepperoni fans, (right here!), and having purchased these several times I can attest that they bake up perfectly in their own convenient tray. It’s pizza perfection.
A Commitment to Local
Being a local business themselves, Ralph’s and Bayview Thriftways, our community’s family-owned grocer, is committed to making it easy to “shop local.” Local shopping is not just a buzz-word, it’s a commitment in supporting local makers and artisans and keeping our local dollars flowing through our community economy. The businesses highlighted are just a small sampling of the plethora of local products you can find within the Thriftway stores, and if you want to see for yourself what passion can taste like, make an effort to support your local artisans.
1908 East 4th Avenue, Olympia
516 4th Avenue West, Olympia
Open daily: 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.