If you’ve not noticed, the shopping center on Encinitas Boulevard between Vulcan Avenue and the Interstate 5 has become a bustling, renovated mecca with a beautiful new anchor store in Lazy Acres.
They did their homework on this stunning store and have everything that could possibly appeal to a health conscious coastal audience. I thought it best to connect with their marketing manager and Moonlight Room Director Gabi Romero learn more about Lazy Acres.
Here are some highlights from our conversation.
So the first question many people are asking is, was there a need for another upscale, gorgeous organic market in Encinitas?
I don’t think I am the best person to answer this question. I think I will let our customers answer this one. We are here to offer the best product and a better shopping experience.
Well, based on the response I’d say there was a need! And it really is a beautiful place to shop, besides the aesthetics, what are your other differentiators from say a Whole Foods or Sprouts?
Our store has an open layout meant to be easy to maneuver in and better accommodate customer-shopping habits. Everything is where you think it should be. We were intentional about our directive signage and calling out categories throughout the store to make things easy to identify. On the innovative side we have a variety of playful and delicious venues in the store such as “The Cookie” (as you know our in-house Belgian chocolate walnut cookie, served hot). In-house popped popcorn, an observational beehive, and of course our Moonlight Room where we are offering cooking/wellness classes.
Where did Lazy Acres start and how many stores do they have?
Our original Store is in Santa Barbra that opened its doors in 2001. Our other Long Beach location is plated right near the University. So that makes us (Encinitas) number three! And we have been working on this location for five years.
I’ve noticed there are several local retailers represented with kiosks and mini displays, that are a nice touch, how did that come about?
Community is such an important aspect of our business, so naturally we wanted to partner with community brands to offer the best local variety for our customers.
Poke is huge right now and you have that covered as well. Tell me about the Poke Bar.
This is my favorite corner of the store. The poke bar is everything you love about an authentic Hawaiian style poke shack. Superior quality seafood, over yummy sticky rice, topped with everything you might need for your poke masterpiece — fresh, crunchy, salty, sweet, spicy and more! . This is where customers can really get creative and mix flavors as well as unconventional toppings.
I just wrote about the proliferation of Kombucha in the area and you have as many brands as I’ve seen in one place. I’m assuming that is really taking hold in this area?
Definitely. One of the things I love most about Encinitas is how proactive the community is when it comes to health and wellness. Nowadays there are so many great brands brewing craft Kombucha, and endless flavor combinations. Why choose, when we can offer almost all of them to our shoppers! This week we rolled out our Kombucha on tap and we are always on the hunt for more local Kombucha brands to showcase.
Culinary education is a big part of Lazy Acres and you have a large learning kitchen, what’s going on there?
The Moonlight Room is a great addition to the community. We are offering a variety of hands on class, date night classes, farm to table cooking, canning, seasonal cooking, wellness lectures, crafty classes, kids classes — even some advanced kids cooking! Others include fermentation, olive oil making, cake decorating, and of course continuing our kids Master Chef course! My vision for this room has and always will be community centered. We are working with local chefs, and speakers to offer a fun and eclectic variety of classes and also an opportunity to meet new people and maybe run into a neighbor. The Moonlight Room is a place for food and wellness education where our customers can learn new techniques, master an old tradition, or maybe spice up your weekly dinner routine! Our classes range from $10 to $40 a class and are being offered in a variety of styles.
I will say that I don’t think I’ve been in a market where everything is so impeccably merchandised, it’s really such a visual treat just to walk your aisles. Do you have special guidelines for your stock people?
Being a shopper myself, I couldn’t agree more! We pulled in all our best resources to bring Encinitas our best product mix yet. The team really focused on the customers shopping experience as a whole. Everything from the energy efficient skylights to the beehive and colorful product mix, we were focused on making grocery shopping fun again. So bringing in a lot of small local companies helped us achieve a true market feel. Shop any set in our store and on most occasions you will find a healthy assortment of your favorite popular brand side by side with local and organic options
I’ve been seeing you everywhere in the community lately. You really seem to have engaged locally right off the bat, is that typical of Lazy Acres?
Typical, no. Intentional? Yes. We are so grateful to be a part of the Encinitas community, and we have been able to work closely with local groups in the area to lend support and partnership. It has been such a fun experience for our store to be able to take part in all sorts of events over the summer. Prior to the store opening, it was so important to our team to submerse ourselves in the Encinitas way of life and cultivate long lasting relationships with our neighbors, and we will continue to do that for years to come. In short, you will be seeing us around.
What are some of your favorite sections of the store?
I’m an impulse shopper at heart, so I can leave the store without an heirloom veggie I’ve never seen before, or a new coffee I must try, or maybe a smelly cheese I need to have! Just yesterday I had two mini pineapples in my basket! So I’m always looking for something new to try.
Lazy Acres is located at 150 Encinitas Blvd. Encinitas. Call (760) 536-4905 or visit online at lazyacres.com.
David Boylan is the founder of Artichoke Creative an Encinitas based integrated marketing firm. He also hosts Lick the Plate Radio that airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. on FM94/9, Easy 98.1, and KSON. Reach him at [email protected] or (858) 395-6905.