A longtime Oneonta business has launched a second site, where the emphasis is on combining healthy, organic food with convenience.
Green Earth Southside, at 5252 state Route 23 in Oneonta, offers select products in its store portion and custom smoothie and savory bowls, wraps and drinks in its cafe. The complete cafe menu, Rachael Shaughnessy said, will be available in-house and from the drive-thru setup, with online ordering options.
Shaughnessy, 46, of Oneonta, said she and her husband, Michael, are transitioning into an ownership role at the Southside and Market Street locations. Her in-laws, Dean and Emily Roberts, Shaughnessy said, have owned the store on Market Street for about 15 years.
“It’s a whole new concept with the cafe and the build-your-own bowls. And we are trying to work on more grab-‘n’-go items like prepared bowls, wraps and drinks, so if the cafe is closed but the store is open, (customers) will still be able to come in and get something,” she said. “Like the other store, everything is organic, but we wanted to cater more to businesses and offer catering and delivery, which we’ll have from 11 to 2 at both stores.” The store portion, she said, will carry best-sellers from the Market Street spot.
“It’s more convenient than the other location,” cafe manager Michael Seghposs said. “Speed is a big part of it and catering to people that are really on the go.” Seghposs previously worked at the Market Street site, he said.
“It’s nice to be right on the main road here,” cafe cook Darren Johnson, 24, said. “Hopefully we’ll catch peoples’ eye and give them something aside from McDonald’s that’s convenient.”
Seghposs, 32, said, for him, making "clean" eating convenient is part of a larger mission.
“I worked at a lot of restaurants … and in several vegan spots in Long Island,” said Seghposs, a three-year Oneonta resident. “I’m really passionate about health and wellness and I know a lot about food, so … we are focusing mostly on the health-conscious and taking care of your body.”
“The big thing with people, in my experience,” he said, “is that somehow eating healthy is paired with being inconvenient, so people always make excuses about money and time and what’s easier. We’re taking that excuse away from people and that’s huge. A lot of our dressings are vegan … and we went out of our way to have no added sugars in things (that typically have high sugar). There are no useless calories and that’s part of my whole belief system: Everything has to have a purpose for your body.”
The concept for Green Earth Southside, Shaughnessy said, took root years ago.
“Shirley and Joe (Rufrano) from Southside Chiropractic (now Southside Health & Wellness Center), wanted to transform their business into a health and wellness campus, so they wanted to see a small grocery store here,” she said. “They approached us about seven years ago, but the timing wasn’t right. Then they approached us again and we spent the last 18 months redoing the whole building.”
The store portion of Green Earth Southside soft-opened, Shaughnessy said, in late July, with the cafe opening in early August. Shaughnessy said she expects to adopt regular hours in mid-September.
In its first weeks, she said, the Southside site has generated “a lot of positive feedback.”
“We’re still taking suggestions of what people want to see over here,” she said. “And we’re getting everyone on the outskirts of town or that comes to Southside, but maybe doesn’t go all the way into town. We’ve had people from Franklin Mountain, Davenport, Schenevus and Worcester.”
Though Seghposs said Green Earth Southside is “definitely for everybody,” he and Shaughnessy are hoping the business will cultivate new clients.
“The big thing we’d like to do is turn people on to this who haven’t been eating healthy,” he said. “We’re looking into getting catering going with local businesses and doing events and staff meetings. We think the concept of the bowls is very adaptive to that kind of environment.”
Though diners can choose a base, a protein, raw or roasted vegetables and from-scratch sauces for customizable bowls, Shaughnessy and Seghposs said, fixed options such as the chicken-bacon and ranch bowl and the Korean beef bowl are proving popular. Whenever possible, they said, ingredients are sourced locally, and the meat is always local, grass-fed and free-range.
For more information, visit greenearthoneonta.com, find “Green Earth” on Facebook or follow @greenearthhealthmarket on Instagram.