BY CHERYL SLAVIN
There’s a new kid in town. The Stony Point Market, located on Route 210 across from Farley Middle School, is enjoying its first full summer in the neighborhood. Offering fresh daily home made baked goods, salads, soups, breakfast specials and overstuffed lunchtime heroes in a warm, homey atmosphere, the Market is on its way to becoming an established community fixture.
“We want to have a different footprint here,” co-owner and manager Kate Giordano explains. “I cook for my customers like I would cook for my family. We want to offer a country experience, to become that local destination known for quality food that’s varied and unique but dependably delicious.”
The Stony Point Market achieves that by providing a variety of soups, salads and entrees Kate and her staff prepare fresh each day, as well as staples such as dairy goods and fresh fruits and vegetables. “We will even deliver grocery items to our customers,” Kate says, “especially our elderly neighbors who might not be able to shop because of bad weather or bad health. In fact, we are proud to say that many of our regulars have become friends, people with whom we talk about our families and our lives.”
That personal touch is evident everywhere. It’s not uncommon for Kate to arrive at the store by 4:30 a.m. to make that day’s baked goods, or to stay late in the evening to prepare the next day’s roast beef. She has personally planted and nurtured the abundant flowers that grace the building’s exterior. The staff is uniformly friendly and knowledgeable; Kate insists that each worker taste every home cooked item before offering it to the public. The menu is always changing as Kate and her staff come up with new recipes to try. Visitors will often find samples of the latest muffin or coffee cake available at the counter, and the Market staff is eager to listen to everyone’s feedback about taste and quality.
Given her enthusiasm and innovation, it is notable that Kate did not even originally intend to become the store’s manager. When her husband, Rick, and his brother bought the building about a year and a half ago from their father, it was little more than an empty shell. Kate’s only role initially was to design and oversee the complete renovation of the space, inside and out. Her vision from the start was to provide the residents of Stony Point and surrounding towns with a county-style market that looked and felt down-home and welcoming. And, with its red painted, white trimmed clapboard exterior, peaked entry and rooster motif, and roomy yet intimate interior, she certainly achieved that feel.
But then, just before the store opened last year, the manager they had hired left. Kate stepped in to fill the vacuum and has been running it since. Astonishingly, not only is this the first store she has ever managed, it is her first job outside the home since she married and raised her kids. She has, however, proven equal to the task.
“It’s a lot of on the job training,” she says with a laugh. “A lot of trial and error. But I love to cook, I love to entertain, and I love people, so it’s really a perfect fit!”
The most difficult adjustment has been her long hours away from home. It does help that she has the complete support of her “awesome” family: Husband and co-owner Rick, daughters Allie, 25 and Sammy, 20 and son Mike, 22. All of them come by as often as possible to help out however they can. She also relies on a core staff whom she views as family.
However, taking on the challenge of guiding a brand new enterprise was not the only storm Kate initially had to weather. The Market’s original opening day ended up coinciding with Hurricane Sandy’s arrival. Then, after the store officially opened a few days later, the generators temporarily blew out. Since then Kate, her husband, and the staff recovered, and from that point forward the Market has continued to serve the community.
But Kate does not intend to stop there. In keeping with her greater vision for a country market, she plans to start offering fresh local produce by mid-July, and hopes in the near future to include locally made jams, jellies, honey and other products. She also plans to eventually install a new cooler so that the Market can offer hand scooped ice cream. With its quaint outdoor seating, picnic benches and café tables surrounded by the flower barrels, Kate envisions the Market becoming a popular after dinner dessert destination. Someday, perhaps, there will even be outdoor music.
In the meantime, she will once again offer pumpkins, mums and other decorative items in the fall, as well as Christmas trees and wreaths during the holiday season.
“We want to have what no one else has,” she says. “A down-home place with food like your mom would make, a place where you’ll come for the wonderful pancakes and then stay to read the paper in the fresh air on a sunny morning.”
She is well on her way to accomplishing just that.