Weiland’s Gourmet Market in business for more than 50 yearsBusiness Profiles — By Melanie McIntyre on February 6, 2012 at 8:00 am
Weiland’s Gourmet Market has evolved considerably during the last half-century.
When John Williams and George Weiland opened the market in 1961, it primarily sold meat. A few years later, the business moved to Indianoloa Avenue and Garden Road, where more groceries were added, as well as a deli, a produce department, and catering services. After relocating to its current 15,000-square-foot home at 3600 Indianola Ave. in 1999, Weiland’s expanded its offerings even further.
In addition to meat, seafood, specialty groceries, deli meats and cheeses, and produce, Weiland’s now sells dairy products, prepared foods, and wine, beer and liquor (courtesy of a state liquor agency that was added in 2006).
“We make our own barbeque brisket, wings and other meats on the weekends,” says Jennifer Williams, the market’s proprietor. “You can smell barbeque in the parking lot!”
Jennifer is well acquainted with Weiland’s. Not only is she John Williams’s daughter, she was the first woman employed at Weiland’s, working there part-time during high school and college. After graduating from Ohio University in 1988 with a bachelor’s in journalism, she worked as a reporter for Suburban News Publications. She then spent 19 years at JPMorgan Chase in corporate marketing and communications.
In August, Jennifer and her husband Scott Bowman, who also worked at Weiland’s during his college years, decided to take the reigns at Weiland’s for a few reasons.
“First, we loved the idea of working in a smaller, independent business −as opposed to a large corporation, which we’ve both done− and carrying on the tradition of Weiland’s in the community,” Jennifer says. “And we’re big fans of food. Scott grew up in Cleveland, which has a great tradition of ethnic and homemade food, and whenever we travel we always spend a lot of time at local food markets, meat markets, and shops. We’re excited about being able to introduce new foods to customers, including local foods from around Ohio.”
Additionally, Jennifer and Bowman like to support the state’s food producers by buying from them whenever possible.
“It’s good for us as a retailer, it’s good for customers, it’s good for the producer, and it’s good for the economy,” she says.
Providing top-notch customer service is one way Weiland’s has set itself apart from other locally-owned gourmet markets.
“We help our customers with whatever they need, we provide advice about foods and cooking, and we do special orders on groceries and other foods all the time,” she says. “Many customers say there’s a friendly, family feel in the store, which we love to hear.”
And then there’s the food.
“We pride ourselves on offering delicious food at a fair price,” she says. “We make a lot of our fresh products ourselves, including smoked meats, sausages, salads and 100-plus prepared entrees and side dishes. If we don’t make the food ourselves, we source it from a network of trusted vendors that we know offer great products.”
Weiland’s has been in business for more than 50 years, largely due to customer loyalty.
“It’s not unusual to see families with multiple generations of Weiland’s shoppers,” she says. “We’re also getting a whole new generation of younger shoppers who want to buy local, which is great. Our customers, who come from Clintonville and beyond, continue to make a decision to shop at our store— and we are grateful that they do.”
The owners aren’t slowing down, though. Instead they’re working diligently to expand the number of regional products on the market’s shelves and improve operations.
As a result, Weiland’s now carries Crimson Cup coffee in Clintonville, cookies from Sweet Tooth Cottage in Powell, and chocolates from Emlolly Candy in Worthington, it’s catering menu is being updated, and a store renovation is in the works.
It’s also likely Weiland’s will host more events.
“The crowds at our wine and beer tastings on the weekends show that our customers want more of these kinds of events,” Jennifer says.
To learn more about Weiland’s Gourmet Market, visit WeilandsGourmetMarket.com.
Melanie McIntyre served as editorial director of The Metropreneur from its launch in August 2010 to May 2013. She is also a featured writer for Columbus Underground and writes about fashion, style and pop culture on her blog, Thoroughly Modern Melly. Melanie is an Ohio State University graduate, lives in the Short North, and enjoys reading and running.
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