The Rapidian

Martha's Vineyard answers Midtown's call for more groceries

Martha's Vineyard has expanded yet again by removing the wall between Martha’s and its Pizza Shop next door. The expansion has created more space for traffic flow inside the popular market, but more importantly, it’s brought a wider grocery selection.
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/Marjorie Steele

/Marjorie Steele

The Martha’s family of businesses have had their roots in Midtown as long as most of the neighborhood can remember, and when you see their latest expansion, it’s not hard to see why. Martha’s Vineyard, a wine and deli market at the corner of Lyon and Union, has expanded yet again by removing the wall between Martha’s and its Pizza Shop next door. The expansion has created more space for traffic flow inside the popular market, but more importantly, it’s brought a wider grocery selection.

“Our goal is to bring in more fresh products,” says Ilana Chamelly, management staff and grocery buyer for Martha’s Vineyard. “We want to feed our neighbors, and meet our community’s needs. People who live nearby need fresh, healthy, affordable food that’s both approachable and accessible.”

As its name implies, Martha’s Vineyard is a popular resource for beer, wine and gourmet lovers across town, which has led to the perception that Martha’s caters more to the high end market, and less to the average consumer. Chamelly confirms, however, that the majority of Martha’s business comes from the local neighborhood. “Most of our customers live within walking distance,” she says, citing students, medical workers and downtown professionals among their clientele.

Martha’s staff purchase from a number of both local and national produce suppliers, and Chamelly emphasized that they “try to stay as local as possible, especially in season.” Cherry Capital and Heron Brothers are among Martha’s local distributors, and the staff plans to work directly with farmers to expand their local produce selection in the summer.

A large deli counter has replaced the wall between the Pizza Shop on Union and what was formerly the back of Martha’s Vineyard, and a new produce case now stands where the front deli counter was. The new case’s wider produce selection includes cut and bulk produce, herbs, mushrooms, vegan foods and brined foods from Ann Arbor’s The Brinery. Customers can help themselves to bulk food at a new self-serve weigh station.

The fresh deli section, now in the back by the Pizza Shop, will be expanding its selection as well.

“All our food is made within Martha’s business - Nantucket [Baking Company], and our [Martha’s] catering,” says Chamelly.

The Martha’s team has worked hard to create a market “where you can come and see something different from what you’d see in a regular grocery store, it’s affordable, and it’s high quality,” says Chamelly.

In addition to food and beverages, Martha’s Vineyard includes a small selection of household and cosmetic products. Despite its small size, Chamelly defends her carefully curated inventory.

“We’ve got natural shampoo, toilet paper, contact solution - I’ve got you covered,” she says. “From high end mixers to dish detergent, we usually have what you’re looking for.”

The expansion in Martha’s Vineyard is the latest in a series of developments within the Martha’s family at Lyon and Union, which included the addition of a new parking lot, the pourover-style coffeeshop, Lyon Street Cafe, and separating Nantucket Baking Company from the Pizza Shop into its own dedicated space on Lyon. Including Martha’s Vineyard Catering, which operates a few blocks away on Michigan Avenue, the Martha’s family operates a total of five businesses in Midtown.

Although she would not confirm the rumor that Martha’s may be adding a butcher shop to its family in the future, Chamelly says that they are “always thinking about it. We’re always open to hearing what people in the neighborhood want. That’s why we’re still here.”

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