When Mud Bay moved out of its old location at 8211 Greenwood Ave. N., a new produce store called Kelly’s Fresh Produce was supposed to move in. But, that didn’t work out, and now a different produce store, Theo’s Fresh Produce, hopes to open by the end of September.
Operations Manager Theo LaConte says his store will feature plenty of produce from hundreds of local farms, plus some dry goods, Washington wines and beer, espresso, and maybe even a small deli. He says they hope to open in late September, but definitely no later than Oct. 1.
“I’ve been in the produce business all my life. I’ve been a chef for years. I have a bachelor’s in food science,” LaConte said. “We’re trying to focus on as much local as we can.”
Theo’s will work with suppliers that support more than 700 locally owned and operated family farms and dairies.
LaConte’s business partner, Jim Greene, owns the building. Greene’s son Kelly was hoping to open a produce business, with LaConte as one of his suppliers, but that didn’t work out, leaving the building open for LaConte to join Greene in their own produce store.
“This is a perfect area for something like this,” LaConte said.
The almost 3,600 square feet is on three levels. The main floor – about two-thirds of the space – will be produce, plus a small espresso stand, dairy cases, and wine and beer (Theo’s is still waiting on its liquor license).
Near the back, just two steps up, will be an area for dry goods such as bread, cereal, etc. Another three steps up takes you to a small area where LaConte hopes to eventually set up a deli, but that’s at least a year off because it needs major plumbing work to turn into a deli.
Local artist Jim Carey is painting a mural on the north wall, and LaConte hopes to eventually get more local art on the walls.
LaConte says his espresso stand is not designed to compete with other area coffee shops, but will be more of a convenience for shoppers. He will use beans from Java! Java!, a very small Maple Valley coffee roaster.