After a six-year run in Chesterfield County, an international deli is headed closer to the city.
Europa Food Market is preparing for a soft opening at 5243 W. Broad St. on July 22, a strategic move to become more accessible to its client base.
Its new 2,400-square-foot space was formerly a Firehouse Subs just west of Willow Lawn and next to the Faison Center.
Owner Sergey Fayvusovich said the store, which is frequented by statewide customers, will benefit from a closer proximity to Richmond’s highways and public transit system. Rising gas prices solidified the decision.
Fayvusovich, who runs the business with his wife Simona, said the shop’s core aim will stay the same on the other side of the river: to offer variety and create community.
“Food is the oldest way to get people together without trying,” he said, characterizing the business more as a social space than a grocery store. “I think that’s what small business is supposed to do. I think that’s what food is supposed to do.”
Europa will offer 600 items from an expansive network of diverse suppliers the couple has built over the years.
Shelf products, ranging from preserved syrups to marinated produce, are imported from Germany and Poland.
Each week, the store ships in bagels from New York, a product Fayvusovich said is a central attraction for clients. Likewise, working with a Polish bakery in Brooklyn, Europa is regularly outfitted with fresh pierogi. If these products grow more popular in the city, Fayvusovich plans to bring them in more frequently.
The best-selling products are the store’s meats, consisting of a wide selection that includes sausages, cold cuts and spreads. Guests will not find a name brand in the deli. Instead, produce comes from multi-generational butcher shops located in New York, Chicago and New Jersey.
“(Small businesses) stand behind their product. This is their livelihood,” Fayvusovich said, describing his network of suppliers. “This is done like in the old days — a lot of handshakes, a lot of very informal business.”
The Broad Street location will also allow for the addition of kosher options and an upgraded sandwich menu.
A Ukrainian native and former longtime resident of Baltimore, Fayvusovich said he and his wife opened Europa Food Market in the fall of 2016 in part to bring a food selection he said was lacking in Virginia.
Northern states, he said, have a more rooted immigrant history, allowing for a larger presence of non-American products than in the South he experienced.
“We were surrounded by a lot of chains, a lot of fast-food restaurants,” Fayvusovich said, describing his move to Virginia. “That was something we weren’t used to.”
Though the couple came from careers in finance, the store was their first business venture and required some learning. Years later, the deli offers both in-store and online shopping, as well as local deliveries every Friday, transported by staff or Fayvusovich himself.
Europa Food Market has experienced some post-pandemic price increases, though they have not been as considerable as in most supermarkets, Fayvusovich said. He credits the international variety behind his products for this, as pricing is determined on a country-by-country basis.
“As COVID occurred we actually doubled in size overnight,” he said.
As restaurants went into lockdown, Europa became a more attractive client to suppliers, as it was willing and able to purchase their products. He said the store also saw an uptick in visitors as the pandemic set in as local restaurant-goers also faced limited options.
In preparation for this month’s opening, the new space has undergone a layout change and comes with added equipment such as built-in refrigeration.
Europa’s Midlothian space will continue to serve Chesterfield customers in a smaller capacity, providing a nearby pick-up spot for online orders. With its lease ending in February, Fayvusovich is open to a potential sublease of the location.
NetWorks Commercial Real Estate’s Jim Tucker represented the tenant, while CBRE’s Susan Jones repped the property’s owner.
The new shop is currently staffed by Fayvusovich’s family, including his two children. The business is looking to hire, he said.
Though Fayvusovich wants his children to pursue their own interests in the future, he views the family business as a worthwhile experience for them in the meantime.
“It’s a business that requires a lot of thought. It’s a very fast-paced business,” he said. “It’s an excellent way to get started in life.”