The Andersons Fresh Market offers fresh produce from local farmers.
Quaint food markets with a local feel are scattered around the Sylvania area, offering products and atmosphere that may be different from the bigger chain grocery stores.
Sautter’s Food Center, Andersons Fresh Market, and Sofo Foods each puts pride in its fresh produce, high-grade meats, and personalized service. The store managers at each locations take time to learn customer needs and supply them with requested products.
“Their produce is fabulous,” said Cindy Schwallie, a Sylvania Township resident, regarding the Andersons store. “I like the personal service, too. At House of Meats, if I want 15 slices of bacon, I can get that.”
“They have the best meat and a great bakery,” said Greg Debner, a Sautter’s customer and Sylvania resident. “If I need something, Jim can get it for me. They butcher all my holiday meats.”
Sylvania residents Linda and Greg Debner have been shopping at Sautter's for more than 30 years.
All three stores offer a selection of organic products from local farmers. Sautter’s, 5519 Main St. in Sylvania, orders organic, free-range turkeys for Thanksgiving from Bowman and Landes Turkeys in New Carlisle, Ohio.
“They’re a bit pricey, but the customers who buy them love them,” said Jim Sautter, owner.
The chain grocery stores in the Sylvania area also offer organic and all-natural products in the delis, bakeries, and packaged goods sections. The Kroger stores, at 6235 Monroe St. and 7545 Sylvania Ave.; Meijer, at 7240 West Central Ave., and Giant Eagle, at 6932 W. Central Ave., offer locally grown produce, including corn and apples, from Ohio and Michigan. All of these stores, plus the Walmart at 5821 W. Central Ave., sell organic products, which include soups, vegetables, and pastas.
The smaller stores carry a wider selection of specialized items, including cheeses from local farmers, to draw customers into their stores.
“I know that people aren’t going to buy all their groceries at my store,” said Joe Sofo, co-owner of Sofo Foods, 5400 Monroe St. in Sylvania Township. “But they will come in to get the cheese that they need every couple of weeks.”
Jim Sautter, owner of Sautter's Food Center in Sylvania, said that fresh produce and locally grown products are a priority in his store.
Sautter’s and Andersons Fresh Market, 7638 Sylvania Ave. in Sylvania, carry apples and peaches from MacQueen’s Orchard in Holland. Mr. Sautter said that he also sells products from small food producers elsewhere in northwest Ohio.
“I buy local products because I know it’s going to be fresh and I know what they’re doing with it,” he said. “If someone makes a great food item they’d like to sell in my store, I’ll try it.”
Sautter’s opened in Sylvania in 1959 and it continues to be under family ownership.
“I’ve been shopping here for 30 years,” said Linda Debner, Sylvania resident. “They’re a great treasure in Sylvania.”
The Andersons store opened five years ago. This location only sells food, unlike the other Anderson general stores. It offers specialized products like Reiter Farms milk and more than 250 gluten-free products. The Toledo-area House of Meats, supplies the meat counter.
“I love this place,” Ms. Schwallie said. “I also love that it’s local.”
The Andersons Fresh Market has one of the largest selections of wine and beer in the northwest Ohio, according to Beer Advocate magazine.
The store hosts cooking classes and wine tastings each month. The in-house chef, Sandra Irvine manages the events and provides a program called “Shop with the Chef.” Customers can walk around the store with Ms. Irvine to select ingredients and to learn how to cook a customized meal, she said.
Beer Advocate Magazine, based in Boston, gave the Andersons store a nearly perfect score for its craft beer selection. The store, the magazine said, has the largest selection of craft beer in the northwest Ohio . It has beers from such places as Three Floyds Brewing Co. in Munster, Ind., and Stone Brewing Co. of Escondido, Calif.
“We also carry hundreds of wines,” said Bob Staller, the store’s general manager. He explained that guests can meet with a specially trained employee to find the exact type of wine they are looking for.
Sofo Foods on Monroe Street at Laskey Road has more than 60 feet of deli space supplied with meats, cheeses, and produce.
Sofo Foods offers a selection of ethnic meats, cheeses, and oils. It specializes in Greek, Syrian, and Italian foods, said Mr. Sofo. He and his brother, Mike Sofo are third-generation owners of the company.
Their grandfather, Antonio Sofo, started the business 60 years ago from the back of a truck. He delivered meats and cheeses to the Italian community in Toledo, said Mr. Sofo. The company has grown into a nation-wide distribution company servicing 24 states.
The store has more than 60 feet of deli space offering high-grade meats. The staff is trained on the products and can answer specific questions regarding the meats and cheeses.
“I come here for the selection of lunch meats,” said Orville Kidwell, Toledo resident and customer. “They have a great selection and everything is fresh. They treat you well here.”
Orville Kidwell, Toledo resident, shops at Sofo Foods for its selection of lunch meats and its samples.
The store’s selection of olive oils and ethnic cheese sets them apart, said Mr. Sofo.
“It’s a family tradition,” he added. “A kid may come in and say, ‘I need to get those pizzas because my mom used to buy those,’ and that creates a new generation of consumers.”
Contact Ashley Streichert at email@example.com or 419-206-0356.