Standing in the delightfully colorful produce section inside Bend’s Newport Avenue Market, it occurs to me that we couldn’t have chosen a better location for our Wizard of Oz-themed cover shoot with CEO Lauren G.R. Johnson. Above the dark green zucchinis and the broad-leafed parsley sits a monkey that looks plucked right from an Oz-themed tale.
“My parents collect carousels,” Johnson informs me after I make a comment about flying monkeys. Johnson and her parents, Newport Avenue Market founders Rudy and Debbie Dory, are collectors of another variety, too: They’ve taken home the title of Best Grocery store in our readers’ poll nearly every year it’s been offered.
To say that grocery stores have taken on a new, or perhaps altered, role in the era of COVID-19 is an understatement. They’re people’s lifelines for basic goods—but at Newport Avenue Market, they’re also sources of a friendly smile (behind that mask, of course), and a place where staff members make every effort to learn customers’ names, says General Store Manager Erika Maloley. In the age of coronavirus, when employees now have to don masks all day, every day, both Johnson and Maloley shared how proud they are of their entire team for going the extra mile to keep the store clean and to remain a welcoming lifeline for customers during this tough time.
The extra effort shows, because even flying monkeys can’t keep people away from this awesome, employee-owned local grocery.
2nd - Market of Choice