It’s been over 70 years since Natale “Frank” Ferro closed the Main Nut Shop next to the Elco Theater (now The Lerner Theater) in downtown Elkhart.
Three generations later, Ferro’s great-grandson Greg and his wife, Jodi, are bringing the Ferro name and nuts back to Main Street with help from another local family, Pete and Dawn Recchio.
The Recchios own the home furnishing store The Black Crow on Main at 224 S. Main St. in downtown Elkhart. They recently built a cafe in the back of the shop, and are now welcoming the Ferros and four other food vendors to sell their goods there.
Hours: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday–Saturday
Prepackaged items can be purchased at The Black Crow on Main’s front register until 5:30 p.m. each day.
Jodi Ferro says the plan is to have the new Black Crow Coffee Cafe & Gourmet Shoppe fully functioning by Monday, March 23. Meanwhile, prepackaged items from the new vendors are available for purchase at The Black Crow on Main’s front register.
The partnership came about after the Granger Farmers Market closed at the end of February, leaving Ferro and the four other vendors without a home.
- RELATED: Granger Farmers Market permanently closes, plans for open-air site, Feb. 28
“As soon as I realized the Granger Farmers Market was going to cease to exist, I go, ‘Well, I’ve got to come back home then,’” Ferro said. “So, I put all of my nuts and everything in my tote and walked in the door (of The Black Crow) two weeks ago, literally.”
That tote likely contained the roasted and candied cashews, peanuts, pecans and pistachios Ferro’s Nut Shop is known for. Wasabi peas, salted peas and corn nuts are also part of the mix.
Julie Maynard’s Veggie Dog Cafe will offer vegan baked goods including scones, s’more cookie bars, doughnuts, cinnamon rolls and bagels. Maynard also intends to supply vegan soups and salads.
- RELATED: Veggie Dog Cafe in Granger Farmers Market boasts zero animal ingredients, Jan. 27
Jeff Whitlow’s Toccoa Coffee, out of Mishawaka, will be the cafe’s new supplier of brewed coffee and bagged beans.
Jodi Short of Short’s Bakery & More will prepare an assortment of sandwiches, desserts and packaged soup mixes, which will also be served hot during cafe hours.
“I use my grandmother’s old-school cooking recipes,” said Short. “My soups, sandwiches — anything I make — is home-style cooking. I try to stay local as much as possible. Non-GMO is what we go for.”
Chef Leona Tankersley of The White Dove Shop brings a professional culinary background to The Black Crow on Main. Tankersley’s flavor-infused California olive oils, balsamic vinegar and artisan salts are among her top sellers.
Injections of basil, chipotle seasoning, lime, orange, lemon, bacon and butter add to the diversity of her line. In addition to her edible items, Tankersley’s natural personal care products will also find their way to the cafe’s shelves.
Ferro said she plans to have Eby Farms, from Cassopolis, Mich., added to the roster in the coming weeks with organic soaps and laundry detergents. Other future additions may include frozen, non-GMO meats out of Bremen, gourmet cheeses from Rochester, free-range eggs and more.
The Black Crow Coffee Cafe & Gourmet Shoppe will be equipped with free Wi-Fi access for customers. Prepackaged food purchases will be available after cafe hours, while The Black Crow on Main is still open.
“We can’t tell you how excited we are that we will have a retail position just 1½ blocks north of where Nanny and Pompa started in 1934” Ferro said.