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‘Gourmet And Everyday,’ Janssen’s Market Known For Prepared Foods

Paula Janssen and her parents

Janssen’s Market in Greenville, Delaware, is celebrating 70 years of business. The store’s tagline – “gourmet and everyday” – appeals to its main demographic.

“I like to say that we’re a draw for our specialty foods, but you can still pick up your Tide and your toilet paper in the same trip,” said Paula Janssen, third-generation owner and operator.

The store totals about 22,000 square feet with eight aisles, a full-service deli and butcher, wide selection of artisan cheeses with cheese mongers available, restaurant, bakery and “extensive prepared foods,” according to Janssen.

Those foods are all made in house as the grocer employs about 10 full-time chefs, with an executive chef designing unique menus and items. Prepared foods have always been a part of Janssen’s Market, but the offerings have expanded greatly over the past 16 years.

Jannsen’s grandfather, Joseph Sr., who had been a butcher with A&P, founded the business in the fall of 1952. She has been in charge since 2004, when she became partners with her parents. 

The store remained in its original location until 2007. For most of that time, there was little competition in the immediate area. In 2005, a competitor opened about two miles away. However, it was open for just two years before the lease was offered to Jannsen.

“And with that, we moved from about 8 feet of prepared foods to 48 feet. There’s also a salad bar and the cafe. That was when we really dug in deep on prepared foods,” Janssen said. 

The store also offers catering, but Janssen said she uses that term a bit “loosely.” 

“Catering is anything that a customer lets us know ahead of time that they want [us] to prepare,” she said. 

While the market does offer off-site catering, it’s not as common. Most recently, the grocer’s kitchen prepared about 70 dinners for two for Valentine’s Day. “We do kind of from that level all the way up to weddings for 150 people.” 

But the main selling point is that all the prepared food is made in the market’s kitchen. There is a fresh daily specials menu, as well as a rotating assortment of soups that are popular among the working crowd, Janssen said. 

On the shelves, shoppers will find as many local products as Janssen can acquire. The store sources from a variety of vendors. 

“We’re a little unique in that we cut about anywhere from 200 to 250 checks a week to different vendors. We definitely do not have centralized ordering,” she said.

“But that’s how we compete in that, we can work with the small farmer that just brings in hydroponic lettuce. We’re able to do work with small purveyors and bring in things that people can’t find elsewhere.”

Janssen’s Market provides a platform for local businesses to test their wares. It works with a local collective located “just up the road” in Westchester, Pennsylvania, along with a couple other groups to identify local products. The grocer even offers frequent sampling opportunities. 

“We love to have products come in and sample for our customers because it’s a really great way to get their business off the ground. It’s all over the store. Our bakery sells items from a local woman that makes the best scones,” Janssen said. 

That notion to stay local has been around since the store’s inception. Janssen’s Market has a “long-standing partnership” just across the state line in Avondale, Pennsylvania. 

“Actually, it was my grandfather that started that partnership,” Jannsen said. “It was something a bit different back then. But nowadays, we really value [that] relationship.”

In total, Janssen said local brands make up about 10 percent of her store’s inventory. That number increases during summer.

“We can get up to 80 percent of our produce locally,” she said. “We’re always looking for new products or new business or new things that we think our customers will enjoy.” 

As for the future, Janssen wants to continue perfecting customer service. Associates are trained to help customers however possible.

About the author

Jack R. Jordan

Content Creator

Jordan joined The Shelby Report in May 2022 after over a year in the newspaper industry. A native of Marietta, Georgia, he studied writing and communications at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. He spends too much time in the grocery store trying to find recipe ingredients, so he looks forward to covering the industry.

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