Robert Humphreys began his new stint as the manager of Curb Market, the locally owned grocery store inside of the Crosstown Concourse, last week.
Humphreys has a background in markets. His last job was at Whole Foods.
He took some time to answer some questions.
Tell us about yourself.
I've been with Whole Foods for a really long time, but I'm proud to be working at a locally owned business now. I'm especially excited to be working Crosstown. My grandfather worked there. And it's blocks from my house.
What is your role as manager?
I just started Monday [of last week], so, honestly I'm just listening right now — to what the employees and the customers would hope to have.
Do you have marching orders?
I have a few changes in the future, but nothing like marching orders. We may replace the butcher counter with a made-to-order deli or expand opening hours. Some things like that.
You worked at Whole Foods. Was there something that you studied to work in grocery stores?
I was a newspaper major.
I just sort of fell into it. My wife worked at Whole Foods, and she really enjoyed that sort of business, so I checked it out and enjoyed it. I have a really strong passion for the industry.
Is there a difference between working at a corporation and a small business?
Most definitely. It's more of a community [at Curb]. You learn a lot working for a corporation. I had great mentors [at Whole Foods].
But, yeah, it's more of a community, a smaller feel. It suits me better.
How important is it to have a store such as Curb in that community?
We're just striving to be a healthy, convenient place for the people who work there. Being able to shop where you live or where you work, it can't be anything but beneficial. So it's really important to us to make it the very best that we can.
Are there any plans to expand your local brands?
We're open to hear from any local vendors who might read this.
One criticism of Curb is that it's a little pricey.
We'll be looking at food suppliers and maybe we can make some adjustments. It's always an issue for small businesses. You can't buy stuff at the same cost as the really big people.
There's really great discounts on the hot bar. It's 25 percent off after 4 p.m. And we have the Curb-a-vore program, where members get 5 percent off the entire store, except alcohol. So there are ways to save money.
I can't say we can compete with Kroger and their pricing, but what we can give you is a service, someone who's going to listen to you, and try to get you the things that you need.