The New Chelsea Market moves from longtime downtown location to shopping center near I-94
Husband-and-wife owners Kevin Riley and Francisca Fernandez were forced to relocate the business when their landlord, Pete Flintoft, sold the Main Street building. A smokehouse restaurant will be moving into the location.
Riley said the move came at a perfect time, since he and Fernandez had already been looking for a new location where the market could have a larger presence.
“Downtown Chelsea is changing and we saw that there would be very limited parking downtown,” Riley said. Most of the market’s customers drive to the store rather than walk, he said, since they have to carry groceries.
With Bistro 52 opening in the former post office, in addition to the new 170-seat smokehouse restaurant and The Purple Rose Theatre, downtown visitors will be forced to park well into the surrounding neighborhoods, Riley said.
“People aren’t going to walk for groceries in the middle of December,” he said.
The New Chelsea Market will move into the former Chelsea Pharmacy site next to the old Pamida space on the southwest corner of M-52 and Old US-12. The store has temporarily moved into the recently closed CL’s Carry-Out sandwich shop in the same shopping center while the new space undergoes renovations. The market is expected to reopen in its new location around Labor Day weekend.
With triple the space, plenty of parking and easy access to the freeway, Riley sees the move as an opportunity.
“It makes us more accessible to customers in Manchester, Grass Lake and Jackson, who may stop here rather than go into Ann Arbor for many items.” Riley plans to make use of the larger footprint by expanding the market’s product line to include Zingerman’s baked goods, more kitchen tools, more wine tastings and cooking demonstrations.
To take advantage of it proximity to Chelsea Community Hospital, the market will sell sandwiches and deli items to tap into the lunch crowd and accommodate people looking to pick up an easy dinner on the way home from work.
“We sell Applegate Farms products, which are very healthy in terms of lunchmeat,” Riley said. “We bring in small amounts of really wonderful fresh seafood from a restaurant supplier several times a week.” The market makes salmon cakes and fish cakes — including Riley’s mother’s crab cake recipe from his childhood in Maryland — that customers can take home and heat up.
New Chelsea Market will continue to carry more than 800 Michigan products, as well as Michigan craft beer and wines.
The market owners have hired architect Damian Farrell to renovate the new space, and they have plans to retain the charm of the old location and replicate some of the signage.
Although Riley said he is sad to leave downtown Chelsea — where he believes the store was located for 122 years — he is looking forward to continuing his relationships with his customers.
“I think it will be a better situation for everyone in terms of having plenty of parking and space and expanding into more products,” he said.
For more information, store hours and directions, visit www.newchelseamarket.com.