A local specialty grocer that’s been in business nearly 40 years is changing hands.
Good Foods Grocery owner Donnie Caffery said Sunday that he plans to sell his South Richmond grocery store to Commonwealth Autism, a local nonprofit, in a deal expected to close this morning.
Commonwealth Autism intends to continue to operate the grocery store and utilize the business as a venue for vocational training for those with autism.
Caffery said he teed up a sale of the store to retire and that in the course of an eight-month search for a buyer, Commonwealth Autism’s pitch rose to the top. He said the nonprofit’s vision for Good Foods gelled with his own philosophy and helped seal the deal.
“We entertained a wide variety of people and companies local and national, and late in the game I just got an email from (CEO) Tyler Hart at Commonwealth Autism about who he was and that he was interested in a purchase of Good Foods Grocery to further their mission,” Caffery said. “Being our mission is about helping people on their wellness journey, here we are helping people in the autism world.”
Hart, in a prepared statement issued Sunday, said “We plan to use Good Foods Grocery as a platform to launch a workforce training program.
“We aim to strengthen the strong community and customer service that are hallmarks of Good Foods, offering internships that could lead to permanent employment in the Richmond community for autistic adults,” he said.
Commonwealth Autism, which offers programming for children and adults with autism, is based at 4108 E. Parham Road and was founded more than 25 years ago.
Good Foods has 43 employees, and Caffery said the entire team is expected to stay on with the change in ownership. Caffery also plans to stay on for a year to teach the nonprofit how to run the store.
Beyond that, Caffery, 68, said he didn’t have a firm plan for life after the grocery business, other than playing tennis and spending more time with his wife.
“Now I’m passing the torch, and we’re not sure yet (what’s next). The word ‘retirement’ isn’t in the Bible so what He will use for me next, I’m not sure,” he said.
Caffery founded Good Foods at Stony Point Village shopping center in 1985. The store leases 9,400 square feet at the center at 3062 Stony Point Road. It also previously operated a second location in Henrico County, which first opened in 1990 at Westpark Shopping Center and relocated to Gayton Crossing in 1993 before it ultimately closed in 2016.
In 2020 it expanded the footprint of its Stony Point store.
Caffery said the store is in a good position now, and that it felt like the right time to pass it along to a new operator.
“The store is just doing so well right now,” he said. “The last four years our business has really boomed with a strong upward trajectory. It’s time for someone new to step in and run it.”