A Carytown grocer is getting into the competitive boxed-lunch business.
Ellwood Thompson’s on Monday will launch an in-house catering program as part of the 24-year-old store’s expansion plan, owner Rick Hood said.
“You have to be competitive in this business, and you have to do what you’re good at,” Hood said. “We already have a reputation for serving high-quality prepared foods, and we saw a lot of potential there.”
Customers will be able to pick up orders at the store or hold events in its 600-square-foot meeting room. Ellwood Thompson’s created the event space after expanding its location at 4 N. Thompson St. about two years ago.
The catering menu will include sandwiches, hors d’oeuvre, breakfast items and boxed lunches. Hood said that costs would vary depending on the size of the order but that sandwiches will start at about $8 each, and boxed lunches will be about $12.
The Kroger, Martin’s and Fresh Market locations in Carytown all offer a similar service.
Hood said he expects Ellwood Thompson’s to handle 25 to 30 orders per week.
He said the grocer would also start to offer a similar catering menu at Dawson’s Market, its location in Rockville, Md. The Maryland shop opened in October, and Hood said sales have been steady.
“Grocery sales are generally a little bit slower in the summertime, but we’ve seen them speed up,” Hood said. “It’s been a good demographic for us.”
Ellwood Thompson’s doesn’t have any immediate plans for further expansion, Hood said.
“We’re in no hurry to expand, but we’re always looking,” Hood said. “Right now, our focus isn’t national. It’s on these two communities.”