hickory articleHICKORY – They envision a deli with a sandwich bar and small salad bar. Shelves will be filled with healthy options for consumers. The produce section will feature local goods from the region.

All of this could be found at Food Matters Market, which opens in early 2015 in Hickory.

“We’re about health, natural, organic, intimate, small-town environment,” Food Matters Market co-owner Al Kirchner said. “Our mission is health. It’s about a local market, buying and selling as many local products.”

The market will open in the former ACE Hardware building on N.C. 127. The new business is projected to bring 50 jobs to the area, with 12-15 of those being full time.

“We strive for that constantly friendly, good team,” co-owner Michael Cianciarulo said.

Food Matters Market opened in Brevard in 2012. They wanted to bring the store to Hickory because such a place doesn’t exist.

“Where do you go for these (goods)?” Kirchner said. “Charlotte. Not here.”

The goal was to bring fresher, healthier options into the area. Even the beer and wine will feature local selections.

“A lot of it will be seasonal,” Kirchner said.

Kirchner said maintaining a varied approach keeps food options fresh.

The co-owners said the grocer will be a place where customers are known by name.

“When these people come in to shop, we will know them and they will know us,” Kirchner said.

They said Food Matters Market will have a strong community presence, too.

Customers who bring reusable shopping bags are given a button at checkout. Those customers then can drop it in a jar to support a local charity of choice.

Cianciarulo, who spent 10 years as CEO of Earth Fare, said the store was committed to local vendors, including its foundation.

“Even the construction – it’s Hickory Construction – it’s local,” he said. “It starts with that.”

Kirchner said Food Matters market will give people of Catawba County another option, as it’s will be located less than a mile from a Food Lion, and within miles from two different Lowe’s Foods.

“We are not missionaries,” he said. “We’re just here to provide these things in an intimate (environment) and ready for service.”


Article from the Hickory Daily Record, written by Mary Elizabeth Robertson mrobertson@hickoryrecord.com