V.H.

MOM's Organic Market, Regional Organic Chain

52 posts in this topic

I am so thankful to whoever turned me onto the My Organic Market chain as an alternative to Whole Foods. The first time I tried it was sometime this winter when I went to the Arlington WF in search of apples but all I found were soft bruised things for $2 a pound. My stop at MOM's (near Cheesetique) turned up wonderful organic apples in great shape, at about $1.29 a pound. It's certainly not the gourmet food experience that WF is, but if you're looking to buy a week's worth of organic produce for under $30 and Trickling Springs milk in a gallon jug, this is the place to go.

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I've actually found the prices at My Organic Market (MOM) to be really competitive (taking into account the fact that it's organic), the selection to be good and the produce quality to be reasonable. Plus, they sell this STHT (short time high temp, I think) milke that I really love the flavor of (yes, ending sentence in preposition). I go to the one in Rockville (not sure what other locations they have), but would recommend it as an organic alternative to YES! and WF.

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I've actually found the prices at My Organic Market (MOM) to be really competitive (taking into account the fact that it's organic), the selection to be good and the produce quality to be reasonable. Plus, they sell this STHT (short time high temp, I think) milke that I really love the flavor of (yes, ending sentence in preposition). I go to the one in Rockville (not sure what other locations they have), but would recommend it as an organic alternative to YES! and WF.

There is one in Del Ray, click.

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but would recommend it as an organic alternative to YES! and WF.
ENjoy it now, I bet in 6 months it will BE WF! :o

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There's one coming to Frederick, too. Though with the Common Market in Frederick, I'm not sure it's necessary--Common Market carries some of my personal favorites like the aforementioned Trickling Springs milk and the Spring Mill breads found at MOM locations.

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.....Trickling Springs milk and the Spring Mill breads found at MOM locations.
Ever try their buttermilk?

I no longer buy organic milk for daily use, but became a convert to this brand for buttermilk since the expensive stuff ($3 for a quart at WF; lowfat) was all that was available when I needed it. Here's one instance where I really think it's worth it.

Trickling Springs is careful to say "Natural" vs. "organic" on the label. However, their cows are grass-fed.

Fresh taste and thickness are amazing. I use it for cooking only, but it makes the best pancakes, salad dressing, cornbread...

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Yes, I use their buttermilk when I am able to find it. I actually have some in the fridge right now, which I used for whole wheat pancakes for some guests last weekend. I think the remaining cup will go into some biscuits this week.

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Trickling Springs is careful to say "Natural" vs. "organic" on the label. However, their cows are grass-fed.
Interesting. Their cows for buttermilk must be different from their skim milk cows, because the skim milk specifically says organic on it.

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Hi there. I am the owner/founder of MOM's. Just want to let you know that I'm here and will answer questions and respond to posts if they arise.

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Hi there. I am the owner/founder of MOM's. Just want to let you know that I'm here and will answer questions and respond to posts if they arise.

Any chance you'll expand the meat selections? Or meander in to fish? Just curious -- glad you opened in Jessup as it's an easy swing by stop for my on my way home to Laurel from Owings Mills every day.

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We moved up from Bethesda, where we went to the MOM's in White Flint, and I waited for a whole YEAR for you guys to open up in Frederick! :( Whooohooo!

I was disappointed when I went in the other morning to find the Springs Mills section being dismantled. I love their cinnamon twist bread for french toast. What are you putting in that space?

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Any chance you'll expand the meat selections? Or meander in to fish? Just curious -- glad you opened in Jessup as it's an easy swing by stop for my on my way home to Laurel from Owings Mills every day.

We know we're weak in meat and seafood. The problem is that butchers and meat departments are very expensive- and we're pretty low frills, which allows us to be low price. We sell the basic meats, but nothing extraordinary. In other words, we have had no luck finding a decent packager of meats in the area. We've searched locally, but the local farms are so small, they just can't accomodate.

That being said, we are expanding our meat departments- especially in our Rockville and College Park stores (Frederick and Alexandria already have selections that are quite good). I just had some sample pork chops last night from Niman Ranch (the best pork chop I've ever had in my life!), along with some fantastic NY strip steaks. Those, and other products, will be coming in soon. Also, we are in the midst of researching very high quality frozen fish products ala TJ's- SUSTAINABLE fish products... something that is very difficult to find at other retailers, including WF.

We are also examining the idea of allowing local farmers do a drop off CSA style of their local meat products in our parking lots. That would allow people to get some really good local meats conveniently.

btw- Our Columbia East store (yes, it's Jessup) is soon to expand after being there for only a year. We've signed a lease to take over the bay next to us... bringing the store from 8000 sf to 10,500 sf. That's when we'll do our meat expansion.

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We moved up from Bethesda, where we went to the MOM's in White Flint, and I waited for a whole YEAR for you guys to open up in Frederick! :( Whooohooo!

I was disappointed when I went in the other morning to find the Springs Mills section being dismantled. I love their cinnamon twist bread for french toast. What are you putting in that space?

Spring Mill bread didn't so well in Frederick. I guess they're just too unknown up there. However, there have been quite a few requests for convenience foods, so we're putting in a sandwich bar. We will still carry the Spring Mill bread, but just not the kiosk like we have at our other stores.

btw- Look for service to improve up there soon. Of our 5 stores, our weakest manager was at that location. We replaced him yesterday...

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Hi Scott, thanks for showing up here. Since Frederick does not yet have a Wegman's (or even an opening date for the yet-unbuilt store), a Trader Joe's or a Whole Foods, it seems like your primary competition is Common Market. And Common Market is pretty close to your store. Common Market carries more of the products I use and is a laid out in a more appealing shopping environment, so they are currently my first choice. (I'm not a member of Common Market and have no vested interest in choosing them, but they do remind me an awful lot of the beloved TPSS coop I belonged to back when I lived less than a mile from their flagship store.) How do you plan to differentiate the Frederick store from its competition? I'm especially interested in your decision to take out the Spring Mill kiosk and replace it with a sandwich bar. What else will you do to differentiate yourself in that market?

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Isn't that funny, I dislike TCM's lay out. In an effort not to get sucked into the hair potions and face lotions with my teen, I hurry up the rest of the groceries, and then inevitable forget to go back and swipe up the shampoo.

If I leave her in the potions aisle at TCM, there is all kinds of stuff between me and her, and the door is on the other side entirely. If I let her drift in the beauty aisle of MOM's, I am between her and the exit, which makes me way more comfortable.

She's at that age, you know, where she's desperate for some glop to make her beautiful. I keep telling her the only way to make herself truly beautiful is to be happy. She thinks maybe glop is easier.

We reached a compromise on cruelty-free organics so I lke to let her dream.

Also, when I fill up on my normal weekly stuff, with appropriate substitutions for brands carried, etc, I do better for my money at MOM's.

But I am way, way bummed about mising my little bit of bread and butter. Crazy, isn't it? I hate the parking at Proof's and having to get there at day break to get anything. *grand theatrical sigh* Way bummed. *sniffle*

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Hi Scott, thanks for showing up here. Since Frederick does not yet have a Wegman's (or even an opening date for the yet-unbuilt store), a Trader Joe's or a Whole Foods, it seems like your primary competition is Common Market. And Common Market is pretty close to your store. Common Market carries more of the products I use and is a laid out in a more appealing shopping environment, so they are currently my first choice. (I'm not a member of Common Market and have no vested interest in choosing them, but they do remind me an awful lot of the beloved TPSS coop I belonged to back when I lived less than a mile from their flagship store.) How do you plan to differentiate the Frederick store from its competition? I'm especially interested in your decision to take out the Spring Mill kiosk and replace it with a sandwich bar. What else will you do to differentiate yourself in that market?
When we signed our lease for Frederick, the Common Market was still in its old space of only 2000sf. We didn't know they'd be expanding (there had a been a rumor floating around for years that they were expanding, but we didn't take it seriously since it had been floating around for so long). Before we opened and before the Common Market expanded, the marketplace was EXTREMELY underserved, which is why we chose that area.

So now, the Common Market and us will split the Frederick market... that's just the way it goes. Bad luck for both of us, in a way. However, our Frederick store had the best opening to date of any other MOM's store. We are ahead of our projections and we are already beyond break-even. If I have a regret, it is the opportunity cost- that I could've opened a store elsewhere that probably would have been more busy.

So- to your question- how do we plan to differentiate ourselves from the co-op? We think we already do... our level of customer service is outstanding and much better than theirs, IMO, we think our produce is better quality, we guarantee our prices, and we think our HBA/supplements department is better- better service and more products.

Even though you disagree with this, we like our layout. We think it's easier to shop than the Common Market's and we've heard that from customers as well. We're also much more environmentally-friendly than they are, which many of our customers appreciate. Last I checked, the Common Market wasn't even offsetting their carbon emissions with alternative energy (they could've recently changed that, though- of which we're proud in our certaintly that our presence would be the impetus).

Other than that, we will simply continue to execute and be the best we can be, which we think will eventually win over lots of our competitors' customers- as has always been the case. Wegman's really isn't a competitor of ours. They're too mainstream. Believe it or not, neither really is Trader Joe's.

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Scott,

I heard that MOM is opening on 14th and W-ish soon in the first floor of a new condo building, is that accurate?

Not true. That's probably Yes Organic Market- but unsure. Sometimes landlords will market a new center using names of businesses that they haven't even spoken to. If called on it, they'll say "a MOM's type use". I once saw our logo on such plans on a U St. project- we had rejected the space months prior and were never serious about it.

We would like to open in DC, but the real estate for our model is rare.

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I was thrilled to see MOM in Alexandria is now carrying local, all-natural lamb. It's from Fields of Athenry in Purcellville, Va., and was by far the freshest and most tender leg of lamb I've ever tasted. Had the pleasure of meeting the owner at the store last week as she was sampling their lamb sausage in a cheesy egg casserole.

I much prefer shopping at MOM's over Whole Foods (cheaper, fresher, and more actual organic produce), but they just haven't had the meat and fish selection that we need. Hope this is a sign of things to come on that front!

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I was thrilled to see MOM in Alexandria is now carrying local, all-natural lamb. It's from Fields of Athenry in Purcellville, Va., and was by far the freshest and most tender leg of lamb I've ever tasted. Had the pleasure of meeting the owner at the store last week as she was sampling their lamb sausage in a cheesy egg casserole.

I much prefer shopping at MOM's over Whole Foods (cheaper, fresher, and more actual organic produce), but they just haven't had the meat and fish selection that we need. Hope this is a sign of things to come on that front!

Thanks for the report. I have not been to MOM in quite a while, which is odd since I get to Del Ray frequently. How were the lamb prices?

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Thanks for the report. I have not been to MOM in quite a while, which is odd since I get to Del Ray frequently. How were the lamb prices?

Not cheap, about $15/lb. for the leg. I'm afraid I didn't pay attention to the other cuts since I was just looking for the leg for Easter dinner. After I posted it occurred to me that when the new Del Ray butcher shop opens, MOM's vegetarian slant won't be such a problem since the two can easily be combined in one shopping trip!

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MOM''s is now selling beans from Counterculture coffee roasters (Durham, NC), the same roaster that Murky Coffee has used. The price runs around $9 for a 12-ounce bag. I've had the Kenyan and a couple of the Central American coffees and they are excellent.

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We know we're weak in meat and seafood. The problem is that butchers and meat departments are very expensive- and we're pretty low frills, which allows us to be low price. We sell the basic meats, but nothing extraordinary. In other words, we have had no luck finding a decent packager of meats in the area. We've searched locally, but the local farms are so small, they just can't accomodate.

That being said, we are expanding our meat departments- especially in our Rockville and College Park stores (Frederick and Alexandria already have selections that are quite good). I just had some sample pork chops last night from Niman Ranch (the best pork chop I've ever had in my life!), along with some fantastic NY strip steaks. Those, and other products, will be coming in soon. Also, we are in the midst of researching very high quality frozen fish products ala TJ's- SUSTAINABLE fish products... something that is very difficult to find at other retailers, including WF.

We are also examining the idea of allowing local farmers do a drop off CSA style of their local meat products in our parking lots. That would allow people to get some really good local meats conveniently.

btw- Our Columbia East store (yes, it's Jessup) is soon to expand after being there for only a year. We've signed a lease to take over the bay next to us... bringing the store from 8000 sf to 10,500 sf. That's when we'll do our meat expansion.

Scott-- This is all awesome news. When will the Columbia East expansion happen? Thanks for the update!

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I much prefer shopping at MOM's over Whole Foods (cheaper, fresher, and more actual organic produce), but they just haven't had the meat and fish selection that we need. Hope this is a sign of things to come on that front!
Good to hear regarding the lamb. CSA idea is still alive and we hope to see it get done rather soon.

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MOM''s is now selling beans from Counterculture coffee roasters (Durham, NC), the same roaster that Murky Coffee has used. The price runs around $9 for a 12-ounce bag. I've had the Kenyan and a couple of the Central American coffees and they are excellent.
This is excellent coffee. You should know that the Sanctuary brand of coffee that we've always carried is also roasted by Counter Culture, but just under a different label (to be honest, I'm not sure why- probably because it's organic or designated free trade).

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Scott-- This is all awesome news. When will the Columbia East expansion happen? Thanks for the update!
I should have the plans into the Howard County permitting offices within a week or 2 (they've been in the works for about 4 months). Our goal is to have the expansion finished by August, but some of this is controlled by the banks- which we don't think will be a problem. Also, it might get delayed because I'm pretty sure I've found the location for our 6th store... we are already deep into lease negotiations. I can't disclose location until lease is signed, however. That would probably take priority over expanding Columbia.

We're opening up a pet supplies store within the month a few doors down from our College Park store called Mighty Healthy Pet. We are also currently working on drawings for a substantial expansion of our College Park store, which should happen in early 2009. Busy year ahead of us...

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