Meet Allie, Travis, and Jen! The trifecta behind the corner grocery store bringing fresh produce and groceries to the Point Breeze neighborhood at a price that is accessible to the whole community.
Meet Allie! Allie was born and raised in South Philadelphia. For the past 15 years she has worked in the food industry, from restaurant kitchens to running a school lunch program, she’s seen a lot! For Allie, building connections in the community have always been important and that is the work she focuses on at Rowhouse; creating partnerships and organizations that allow her to extend Rowhouse’s reach way beyond its doors. And speaking of doors! Allie and Travis live around the corner in the house that Allie has lived in for 13 years.
Meet Travis! Travis hails all the way from Waipahu, Hawaii. After spending time living in Portland and Brooklyn, he settled in Philadelphia in 2013. Travis believes in supporting local small producers and purveyors, which stems from working in markets across the country. He strives to make sure Rowhouse’s products are interesting and affordable.
Meet Jen! Jen is originally from New York, but has been working in the Philadelphia food industry for the past 22 years as a server, cook, and instructor. Through her work she has learned that food waste and improving sustainability in the kitchen is what drives her. Like Allie and Travis, she also lives in the neighborhood with her husband and two children.
Rowhouse’s origin story is, at its core, a love note to its community and a desire to tackle sustainability in the food industry.
Allie, Travis, and Jen saw a need in their neighborhood for access to fresh affordable produce and groceries, with the nearest grocery stores being a mile away in any direction. The idea of combining a produce market and an on-site kitchen was developed out of their desire to help reduce waste and make sure the produce on their shelves was always fresh. The kitchen helps them generate other streams of revenue by selling prepared foods in-store and through wholesale and catering, which in turn helps them keep the prices in their store low for their community.
Once the idea was hatched and after several years of planning and construction on the space, they opened Rowhouse Grocery in the fall of 2018. Jen and Allie had left their positions running a school lunch program and Travis had left his job at a local produce market. And as they say the rest is history.
Roses and Thorns
For the three of these entrepreneurs owning their business has proven to be extremely challenging, but also so rewarding. The uncertainty is trying, from appliances breaking down to inventory not being delivered. The problem solving they find can be fun and interesting, but overwhelming at times. But for Allie, Travis, and Jen “at the end of the day, keeping our community fed and being a part of our neighbors special events has been such a pleasure”. Their neighbors are very happy they push through the challenges to keep supplying them with yummy and affordable products.