Hungry people looking for lunch in downtown Goshen can now enjoy their meal inside Maple City Market — and soon they’ll be able to buy a sandwich made to order right in the store.

The grocery co-op at 314 S. Main St. is expanding its deli operations over the next few months. While it’s offered grab-and-go sandwiches, salads and homemade soups for years, the store recently added three tables and six chairs where patrons can sit down and eat.

Brad Weirich, general manager, said it’s the first of many changes to come for Maple City Market.

“Hopefully at the beginning of October, we’ll have a made-to-order sandwich counter,” Weirich said. Customers will be able to order fresh sandwiches, paninis and hot sandwiches off a menu. There will also be rotating offers featuring special ingredients and locally grown seasonal items. Weirich plans to offer more vegan menu options too.

The grab-and-go lunch offerings have always been a staple of the business, but Weirich believes that Maple City Market can better serve Goshen by offering fresher options, especially at lunch.

The market will likely have two more tables eventually and Weirich plans to install bar seating near the front of the store. Eventually, Maple City Market will have space for 20 people to sit down in the store.

The changes come in the middle of growing competition between groceries in Goshen. Maple City Market has been open since the 1970s and has always specialized in healthy, organic food. Other grocers are starting to sell organic produce and healthy food as well, so Weirich believes it’s time for Maple City Market to explore ways to serve downtown Goshen that chain stores can’t.

Member-owners are invited to a series of strategic conversations from 7 to 8 p.m. Sept. 12, Oct. 10 and Nov. 14 at the store. The market board wants to hear what is important to the member-owners and crowdsource ideas for what the market can do differently.

“(Maple City Market) has been a lot of different things to different people over the years,” Weirich said. “What we’re trying to do in Goshen is different than anybody else. We are the community. Our owners are the community. We can adapt and change based on what is needed in the community and what the community feels is important.”

The community part is big to Weirich. Member-owners are important, but he wants the Goshen community to know that they don’t have to be a member-owner to shop at Maple City Market. And aside from some members-only monthly specials, the prices are the same.

“Maple City Market is a specialty, local grocery store that has expertise in local, organic and healthy foods,” Weirich said. “Anyone can shop at the co-op.”

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