The new health food store in Huntington Center plans a weekend of events from Sept. 5 to 7 to mark its grand opening.
The Common Bond Market opened in late May in the former Beechwood Market site, but has been refining and tweaking its operation during the summer.
Now, said part-owner Joshua Elliott, the store is ready to celebrate its arrival with the community.
“We wanted to wait until we were really proud of everything here, and we’re now closer to that final form — although we’ll always be improving,” Elliott said.
The opening will include pumpkin carving, mini-makeovers, yoga demonstrations and chair massages on Saturday, Sept. 6, and live music for the public on the Huntington Green from 11:30 to 4:30 on Sunday, Sept. 7.
Five bands are scheduled to perform on the Green in what the store is promoting as “a picnic atmosphere.” Some of the bands will feature Common Bond employees, including Elliott and Shelton High School student Celina Chapman.
Another performer is former Derby Mayor Marc Garofalo, who will sing Italian favorites with a guitar accompaniment. Garofalo is known for acting and singing skills.
The three-day event also will include free samples from at least 75 product vendors, and a raffle of two bicycles and multiple gift baskets.
Elliott said the store opening has been a learning experience. His mother is the owner of Thyme & Season in Hamden, a natural foods store that’s been in business for 17 years, and is one of Common Bond’s part owners.
But it’s been a long time since they opened that first store. The Huntington Center site was completely renovated and has a new deli and kitchen, among other improvements.
Elliott said customers have been most impressed by the number and range of products the store sells in the 7,000-square-foot space.
“People are blown away by our selection,” he said. “Our goal is to have a little of everything for everybody.”
They are making an effort to sell produce from local farms, such as These Things Take Thyme and Guy’s Eco-Garden, both in Shelton.
Elliott thinks the staff will set the store apart, with employees always willing to offer guidance and answer questions. “We really listen to our customers and react to them,” he said. “We’re always looking for feedback.”
Common Bond offers hot soups, four hot meal selections, salads and a deli. The store has a large bulk item section.
It specializes in gluten-free and allergen-free offerings, and its products are all natural, with no artificial dyes, coloring or sweeteners.
In addition to food, the store sells health and beauty products and has a part-time nutritionist, naturopath and esthetician on staff.
Common Bond Market is beginning to offer free educational lectures, such as a recent one by a naturopathic physician on inflammation.
Elliott has been calling on businesses in Shelton to provide free lunch samples and give out coupons to drum up business. The store does catering and plans to offer meal deliveries.
Common Bond Market is open seven days a week and has 26 full- and part-time employees.
The key to success will be word of mouth in the community, Elliott said. “That will keep them coming back,” he said.