Construction is underway for Leg Up Farmers Market, billed as a "full-service, all-natural grocery store," in Manchester Township.
The 18,700-square-foot supermarket will be at 3100 N. George St., next to the former Brown's market building. Leg Up Farms CEO Brad Clark said the $4 million construction project began in July and should finish in February.
Clark said produce and other goods will be locally sourced whenever possible from producers such as Perrydell Farms and Gingrich Apiaries. Forge Hill Farms, located in nearby East Manchester Township, will provide beef and bison, Clark said.
"I think the one thing we've got to do better than the bigger boys is support our local economy," Clark said. "That's how we're really going to differentiate ourselves from Wegmans and Trader Joe's."
The store will include brick oven for pizza, a sushi bar, fresh-ground peanut butter, a juice bar and a coffee bar with coffee beans roasted on-site.
Clark, whose resume includes two decades in management at Whole Foods, said the grocery store will employ about 75 people, paying "an above-average wage for the industry."
The farmers' market gets its name from Leg Up Farm, a nonprofit therapy center for special-needs children located nearby. The nonprofit also includes Able-Services, a special needs program for adults. Leg Up Farm owns 70 percent of the farmers market, Clark said, and a portion of the proceeds from sales will benefit the special needs programs.
The farmers' market will be one of several new grocery options coming to the area. The Fresh Market is coming to West Manchester Town Center in West Manchester Township. Wegmans also said it would open a new store in Manheim Township, Lancaster County, targeted to open in 2018.
Jeremy Diamond, director at Diamond Marketing Group in Baltimore, said statistics show that an independent grocer like Leg Up Farms can succeed amid competition from chain grocery stores. However, Diamond said, the store has to have a clearly defined niche that makes them different from competitors.
"They can't be everything to everybody," Diamond said. "They have to identify what they're going to focus on and do it better than everybody else."