Local Harvest | St. Louis Public Radio

Local Harvest

St. Louis store owners (from left) Vincent Hromadka, Maddie Earnest and Chris Goodson are each familiar with the challenges - and the joys - of running a smaller grocery store in the city.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The small Soulard grocery store that Vincent Hromadka’s grandfather first opened in 1912, shortly after emigrating from Bohemia, has seen its share of challenges over the past century.

From dealing with an influx of much larger competitors, to moving locations in order to make way for a highway, to maintaining customer loyalty, it’s a substantive list of struggles to overcome. But Hromadka also has many reasons for continuing his grandfather’s legacy – and for why their now-106-year-old family business has persisted as long as it has.

“I enjoy what I do,” he told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Tuesday. “My two sons work for me full time, and I’ve got a third son who also comes in, and we try to communicate with our customers and supply them with their needs – if they need something special and we can get it, we will do it.”

(Courtesy: Maddie Earnest)

About two weeks ago, Local Harvest Grocery, Café & Catering launched a $120,000 crowdfunding campaign that co-owner Maddie Earnest says was necessary to restock the grocery store and pay off debts acquired as a result of a failed expansion in Kirkwood.  The community responded and fully funded the campaign in six days.

We talked with Maddie Earnest about the overwhelming response and how she plans to move forward after the failed expansion.

(Tower Grove Farmers' Market on Facebook)

As 2011 comes to a close, St. Louis Public Radio is taking a look back at the things and people that have had a good year. In the St. Louis region, local food--both the production and demand--makes that list.