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Culture Counter is set to replace the shuttered Homegrown Food at 617 S. Pickwick Ave.
Rendering provided by Culture Counter
Culture Counter is set to replace the shuttered Homegrown Food at 617 S. Pickwick Ave.

New market concept coming to Rountree

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Last edited 8:28 a.m., Oct. 9, 2019

The active food and beverage scene in the Rountree neighborhood is on the verge of a new addition from a first-time business owner.

New neighborhood market concept Culture Counter is targeting an early November opening at 607 S. Pickwick Ave., after previously shooting for late September. Owner Bryce Gott said renovation work in the former home of Homegrown Food, which shuttered last year, has taken longer than anticipated.

“It’s kind of a fresh, new idea for Springfield,” Gott said of Culture Counter, which will focus on organically grown and local foods. “I kind of jumped in this on a wing and a prayer.”

He said around 40 vendors within a 150-mile radius of Springfield are on board. Some include Springfield-based Urban Roots Farm LLC, Millsap Farms LLC and Stockton-based Hammons Products Co.

Springfield native Gott gained inspiration for the market from living in Portland, Oregon, 2014-17, during which time he initially was attending The Art Institute of Portland. He then switched to the Portland State University School of Business, before deciding to return to the Queen City.

“I realized there in Portland it was an education I could be getting here,” he said of his inspiration for launching a business.

Back in Springfield, Gott connected with Shawnee Bullette, who at the time was working at Rountree’s Tea Bar and Bites. She now serves as the kitchen and products manager for Counter Culture, Gott said, adding he plans to have around nine employees by the time he opens next month.

The business will not feature many packaged goods, Gott said. Instead, the market, which includes a cafe, will offer freshly prepared foods. A salad bar, a breakfast granola line and a la carte waffles will be among the offerings, along with smoothies, juices, ice cream and build-your-own meal kits complete with recipes.

Indoor cafe seating will be available for around 20 people, Gott said. He said a walk-up order window would be offered for drinks and ice cream, including some unique flavors such as salted honey and roasted banana. Vegan ice cream options also will be served, he said.

Infill work continues at the 1,300-square-foot space, for which Gott estimates he’ll spend around $125,000 in startup costs when complete. He noted he completely gutted the former Homegrown Food interior.

Rob Bailey closed Homegrown Food in December 2018 after purchasing the business from Brad Nelson in 2016. Founders Ryan and Amanda Owen began the grocery store in 2010, selling it to Nelson in 2012. However, the husband and wife maintained ownership of the building, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

After initially signing a one-year lease with the Owens at the end of 2018, Gott said he recently signed a new three-year lease with the couple for an undisclosed rate.

Among other food and beverage options in Rountree are Cherry Picker Package and Fare, Tie & Timber Beer Co., Imo’s Pizza and Team Taco LLC, which opened in August.

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