The Green Grocers: Green Aisle Grocery
The original Green Aisle Grocery, a 206-square-foot shop, gets crowded the minute more than two people step in off East Passyunk Avenue. The vibe is more cozy than cramped, thanks to neighborly chitchat about local news and the store’s current selection of locally roasted coffee beans. The business’s landlady, Angela, regularly bursts onto the scene with a snack for shopkeepers Adam and Andrew Erace, a question about a utility bill, or both.
The space is stacked floor to ceiling with treats: jars of preserves; baskets of potatoes and apples; a cooler stuffed with local bacon, beverages, meat, dairy, and ice cream as well as pasture-raised beef and chicken. The second Green Aisle location, on Grays Ferry Avenue in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood, opened last year and is similarly well stocked.
Five years ago the brothers opened the Passyunk store with more than one goal in mind. “We knew that we wanted to be a store that specialized in local, organic goods, but we also wanted to be a grocery for staples and a specialty store as well for great gift items,” says Adam. Meeting this range of needs has made Green Aisle a regular stop for residents in need of cocktail bitters, canned tomatoes or a few seasonal vegetables.
One twist on the original business plan: becoming food artisans themselves. The brothers weren’t satisfied with available options for local preserves, so they started making jam, borrowing kitchen time at Paradiso, a restaurant across the street. Customers loved combinations like blueberry cardamom, raspberry apple rose, and Cara Cara clove marmalade. Soon they were selling jams, and shortly thereafter nut butters and pickles, both at the shop and farmers’ markets.
Just as production on their house-made line of products was ramping up, they found their larger space on Grays Ferry, complete with a prep kitchen and plenty of storage. And now the brothers are looking for a space for shop number three on Frankford Avenue in Fishtown.
1618 E. Passyunk Ave., 215.465.1411,
2241 Grays Ferry Ave., 267.687.2398