Business Interview

Interview with Doug Salazar, CO-Owner of Sunripe Produce

Sunripe Produce is a family owned and operated produce market located on the north side of Lansing.  Sunripe Produce recently opened in the fall of 2016.  Lansing Mosaic interviewed Doug Salazar, Co-Owner of Sunripe Produce who tells us more about Sunripe Produce and how they are filling the need for the community.

Tell us about Sunripe Produce?

We are a family owned and operated produce market. Between my sisters, mother, father, and myself. We mainly offer fresh produce and in recent weeks we added some dairy and grocery items. Our plan is to focus on Michigan products and produce. Currently Michigan isn’t producing produce as winter is upon us, but once spring comes about we will start to carry more and more Michigan grown items. We also plan to get into flowers come spring. We plan to have a nice setup out front to have a better curb appeal and draw customers in. We are located on a very high traffic road and we want to capitalize on that.

Have you always been in the food industry? What gave you the idea of wanting to open a produce store in Lansing?

I was a manager at Chuck E. Cheese for 8 years, which is where I learned my customer service and management skills. I then moved into the automotive/logistics field. My father has always been in this type of industry. He owns a wholesale company (Herrera’s Wholesale) serving Lansing and surrounding cities with Mexican products and produce. He worked for produce market years back which is where he received his knowledge in the produce market.

This is something my father has been talking about for a long time, trying to get me on board and I finally decided to actually look into it and found there was a huge market and saw potential.

 

What are some of the unique products that Sunripe Produce has to offer?

We don’t have anything I would call unique. We try to carry as much of a variety as possible, which changes every week as we shop for produce. Being able to go and get our own produce is a huge plus because we get to pick and choose what we want to get and if it doesn’t look good we don’t get it. So sometimes we may have something and a few weeks later we may not.

What makes you different then some of the local produce stores here in Lansing, MI?

Honestly, there isn’t really another produce store in Lansing besides Horrocks, which most people know. We cannot compete with them right now. They have been in the produce game for a while. What makes us really stand out I believe is the quality of our produce and cleanliness of our store. We get complements every day on how clean it is and how nice our setup is.

What is it about North Lansing that made you want to have your business located there?

We grew up on the north side of Lansing and went to elementary and middle school a few blocks away. So being able to help the community where we grew up means a lot to us. It’s an area that doesn’t have anything close to what we are doing and we are filling a need for the community.

What are some of the vendors like that have their products in your store? Are they local farmers etc?

We currently don’t have any local vendor’s products. We carry dairy fresh products out of Detroit and La Michoacana tortillas and chips out of Detroit. We have met with a lot of local vendors at farmer’s markets and plan to bring products in come this spring.

 

What are some of your future goals for Sunripe Produce?

One goals is to get a meat counter. Pretty much we just want to get through these next couple years, learn and build on what we have. Then maybe expand and possibly put another store on the south side of Lansing, which is also in need of fresh produce market.

How do you market Sunripe Produce? What are your customers like?

We try to market to the community surrounding us, so we aren’t overpricing our produce. We are actually the same, if not cheaper than the big stores like Meijer and Kroger. Being a small startup business most think our prices will be ridiculous, but they aren’t and people see that when they come in a shop. We are getting customers from all over right now. Our regulars live in the area, but with the street we are on we have a lot of people that are heading into St. Johns and Dewitt who are stopping to see what we have to offer.

Have you used any resources here in Lansing to help get your produce store going?

We have been promoting heavily on social media, which is really helping. We have also had articles in multiple magazines like City Pulse and Business Monthly. We were listed in the Business Monthly Lansing’s businesses to watch article in December.

 

When not working at Sunripe Produce, What do you like to do here in Lansing?

I currently spend all my time at the store, but when I do get a little free time I like to take my family out and try different/new restaurants. We try to support local businesses as much as we can, which is hard right now while we are trying to build this business, but we try to get out and support.

All Photos provided by Sunripe Produce

For more information on Sunripe Produce visit: www.sunripeprod.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sunripeproduce/

3322 N. East St. Lansing, MI 48906

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ashlee Willis is the founder of Lansing Mosaic. Her mission is to help highlight small businesses and entrepreneurial partnerships in the Lansing and surrounding areas.

Twitter: @ashleewillis100

Email: Ashlee@LansingMosaic.com

Categories: Business Interview, Food

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