UPDATE, OCT. 11: Flip’s grand opening is now set for noon, Oct. 23.
It’s going in a small space, but carries a big mission.
Flip Food Co., the next generation of Gig Harbor-based commercial kitchen Knife Fork Spoon, plans to open a downtown Tacoma Grocery at 728 Broadway, just a quick walk from McMenamins Elks Lodge.
Flip Fresh’s ribbon-cutting is set for noon, Oct. 23.
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The 1,500-square-foot location won’t be a supermarket, but might be just what nearby apartment and condo dwellers (not to mention downtown workers) are looking for to fill out their meal plans.
“The mission of the store is two-fold,” Abbie Cates, owner and founder of the venture, told The News Tribune last week via email.
“We are looking to offer healthy, grab-and-go options to the downtown Tacoma area. We will offer delivery, pre-order with in-store pickup, and walk-in customers. Our goal is to make healthy convenient.
“The second mission of the store is grow other local food manufacturers. ... We are looking for distributors that want to grow with us. Our long-term goal is to take our model to other places in need of healthy food conveniently. This includes the entire Flip Fresh model of being a food incubator while offering great food.”
Cates has operated Knife Fork Spoon (transitioning to a new name, Flip Frozen) in Gig Harbor for nearly two years and got to know Trina Jones, now Flip’s marketing director, through Jones’ photography.
After initially meeting through a women’s business alliance group, Jones tried Knife Fork Spoon’s food, and later photographed the dishes for the company’s marketing.
“I got to try a large variety,” recalled Jones, who said she liked the food and noticed it had no additives or preservatives. That, she said, benefited her own health.
“We spent hours and days cooking and photographing and (Cates) noticed that coming up with healthy food options downtown is hard,” Jones said. “We talked about how, when she’s in Gig Harbor, she has her pick of stores.”
Later, Jones said, Cates mentioned she wanted to start a store where customers could buy dishes — main menu items, meat or vegetable dishes and sides — and mix and match.
“I said, ‘Do it downtown. We need food.’ ”
Jones, who lives in a condo downtown, is sympathetic to people’s options.
“Look at all the people commuting to and from Seattle, then coming home facing that 6:30 dinner hour and ordering from Uber Eats or ordering a pizza,” she said.
The idea of a downtown grocery started growing, the space became available and now the idea is quickly becoming a reality, Jones said.
Along with a dairy and freezer case, the store will include “lots of shelf space for honey and jams, all sorts of things,” Jones said. Plans also call for selling beverages including wine, beer and some hard ciders.
“We’re trying to stick with all Washington vendors if we can,” Jones said.
People can see a preview of the offerings by clicking through the links at www.flipfoodcompany.com and the current food options available to order for now through Knife Fork Spooon at www.knifeforkspoon.net/shop with @flipfoodcompany its Facebook page, where it posts updates.
If Flip Fresh takes off, the flagship model could lead to a franchise serving neighborhoods underserved by grocers, Jones said.
For now, Flip’s staff of four is working toward opening day.
As for Cates’ new company name, Jones offered a quick explanation:
“She wants to flip the food industry on its head,” she said.