Downtown deli opens up doors to retail customers
Carrie Welch holds one of the prepared meals offered at Rich Street Deli Meats, 183 E. Rich Street. The founders of Peggy’s Pride, a prepared-foods plant, have opened Rich Street Deli Meats, a retail store offering take out deli meats and prepared items. Buy This Photo
Rich Street Deli Meats might be new, but its foundation spans more than two decades.
The Welch family – husband-and-wife team Bill and Peggy and daughter Carrie – have created a small retail outlet in downtown Columbus geared toward the busy professional or urbanite who simply does not want to cook.
A cold case in the lobby of the company, 183 E. Rich St., is stocked with such pre-cooked goodies as ribs, chicken and pot roast, as well as cold cuts – corned beef, pastrami and roast beef.
Carrie Welch said the quality is superb and the price is competitive with most supermarkets, because most deli meats sell for $5.99 a pound. A 4.5-pound serving of pot roast, complete with potatoes, carrots and gravy, is $27.19.
She said she also hopes to appeal to the buy-local foodies who appreciate food prepared in the city.
The company was founded in 1988, when Bill Welch bought R. Wilke Meats, a 10,000-square-foot facility adjacent to the deli offices.
He changed the name to Peggy’s Pride in honor of his wife. All of the food is prepared from home recipes.
The business supplies dozens of purveyors and national chains with food, but the family declined to reveal its customer base, Carrie Welch said.
“We just like to keep it quiet,” she said. “We think that’s how our clients would like it.”
The Welches had considered adding the deli section for a number of years.
“We thought this was a quality product we could be delivering to the public, so we said, ‘Let’s do it,’ ” she said.
Her goal is to sell 500 pounds of food per day. The product line could expand to include soups and sides, but the focus right now is on the meats, she said. Deli meats now are sold in 1-pound packages but customers can email or call in larger orders.
The deli offers consumers a few advantages some downtown spots don’t: there’s a parking lot to the rear of the building off Zettler Street and the business is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays for those who can’t make it during the week. The deli is closed on Sunday.
For more information, call 614-824-7911.
About 15 years ago, the hot food-industry phrase was home-replacement meal – a lunch or dinner with all the trimmings ready to go at the touch of a microwave timer.
Although the expression has died down, many grocery stores have bustling prepared-foods businesses.
Some stores, including Giant Eagle’s Market District in Upper Arlington and Kroger Marketplace in the Brewery District, have large spaces dedicated to dine-in and carryout customers.
Local retail analyst Chris Boring said he likes the sound of Rich Street Deli Meats.
“Right off I like the location,” he said. “That’s exactly the type of business that corridor should focus on.”
When compiling a marketing plan for downtown, Boring called that area the “fresh and easy” corridor, one that could support a gourmet-to-go concept, wine shop and convenience mart, take-and-bake pizza and Chinese takeout.
The demographics, he said, support that theory: 38,000 vehicles pass through the intersection at Third and Main streets and there are 14,000 daytime workers and 1,500 downtown residents within a quarter mile.
He’s also bullish on the local-foods angle.
“People appreciate the authenticity,” he said.
Yet, Boring said he’s concerned about access. Rich Street is one-way westbound in front of the store.
Because of the inconspicuous storefront, the deli will have to rely on word of mouth to bring attention to the business, Boring said.
He suggested use of social media in getting the word out.