The new On the Vine Marketplace, a premium food store featuring locally sourced produce, is now open at the former Dunstan School in Scarborough and shoppers are giving the enterprise an enthusiastic thumbs up.
For both Robin Stevens and Maliea Brackett, who live in the Dunstan area, the convenience of the new store is a big plus, but the two are also impressed with the variety of fresh and dry goods available.
Stevens said she was at On the Vine “the first day, the second day and the third day.”
Her family lives within walking distance of the store and she said, “We come for the convenience and for the fresh food. We don’t eat a lot of processed foods and they have a good variety (of produce).”
Although On the Vine has been open for a week, Saturday, Sept. 12, was Brackett’s first trip to the store.
She and her husband came to “check it out,” Brackett said, adding, “I love it. They have some wonderful things. It seems like they have a little bit of everything and the convenience will be great.”
In her shopping basket Brackett had marinated steak tips and some fresh vegetables. She was also impressed with On the Vine’s wine selection.
Overall she believes the new store will be “a great asset to this end of town.”
One the Vine opened during Labor Day weekend and co-owner Abel Schultze said that so far “the reception has been phenomenal” and “we’ve been very, very busy.”
This is the second On the Vine Marketplace location for Schultze and his business partner, Scott Edwards. The two opened their original store in Exeter, N.H., in 2006.
The two have refurbished the historic Dunstan School building, which was originally built in 1940 and was also a popular seasonal restaurant for nearly 30 years.
This week, Schultze said, “We still need to get fully up to speed, but I would say we’re about 75 percent there. We do have a full display of produce, a lot of which is local and organic.”
The On the Vine store in Exeter built its customer base by featuring premium meat and fresh seafood, fresh local produce, an in-house bakery, a coffee bar, wine, cheese and more, according to the company’s website.
And the goal is to offer the same services in Scarborough, as well.
However, Schultze said, the kitchen in the bakery is still being set up and while the deli is open, the store is not offering its full menu of sandwiches yet.
Schultze and Edwards have hired several dozen people already and are looking to hire more, Schultze said in early August.
The Thurlow family, which also owns and operates the Clambake Seafood Restaurant in Pine Point, sold the former Dunstan School to Schultze and Edwards last fall.
In a prior interview, Schultze said one of the reasons he and Edwards chose to come to Scarborough is because it’s a town that “can support a business like ours. It’s a place where people care about their food.”