New food market now is open in Shelton's Huntington Center

Kim Osborne, general manager of the Common Bond Market, stands in front of the produce area at the new store in Shelton.
Kim Osborne, general manager of the Common Bond Market, stands in front of the produce area at the new store in Shelton.

After more than six months of interior and exterior renovations, the Common Bond Market has opened in Huntington Center at the former site of the Beechwood Market.

The natural foods store has a soft opening on Friday, and it will be about three more months until all aspects of the new establishment are fully up and running.

“There were tons of people coming in from day one on Friday, and especially over the weekend,” said Joshua Elliott, who is overseeing the market and is one of its three co-owners.

“We were a little unprepared for that as far as some perishable items, but we’ll be more ready for it this upcoming weekend,” Elliott said.

‘Getting a lot of positive feedback’

The opening weekend tired the staff out a bit, Elliott said on Monday, as many of them worked 14-hour days to serve customers, re-stock shelves, and learn the point-of-sale computer system.

“It will be a three-month-long soft opening,” he said. “We’re operational but not in our final form. But at least we’re open.”

Some shelving still needs to be put in and the kitchen isn’t finalized to make prepared foods. “That’s a few weeks away,” he said of the kitchen.

“People are ecstatic that we’re here,” said Elliott, noting many natural foods fans are coming from nearby towns to check out the new place. “We’re getting a lot of positive feedback.”

Will offer many different products

The 6,500-square-foot store will offer fresh produce; packaged, refrigerated and frozen groceries; prepared foods to go; a deli; bulk-bin areas; health and beauty aids, and nutritional supplements.

The Common Bond Market now has about 20 employees and is open seven days a week. Hours are 8 a.m.-8 p.m. on Monday through Saturday, and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday.

The owners are Elliott, his mother Mary Ellen Stearman, and Stearman’s fiancé Mark Woollard. Stearman is owner of Thyme & Season, a similar store that has been in business since 1997 in Hamden.

Common Bond Market will be a separate business. Elliott said his mother has taught him the importance of excellent service, good organization, cleanliness, and “treating everyone really well.”

‘Feel a real sense of community’

Kim Osborne is the general manager of the Common Bond Market. She had been assistant manager of Thyme & Season in Hamden.

Osborne said people coming into the new Huntington Center store “are excited. We are different than what was here before, and have a variety of different foods they may not have seen or be familiar with. There’s been a lot of interest in our bulk products in particular.”

She is upbeat on the location, being near the Huntington Green. “There’s a lot of good traffic flow in and out, and I feel a real sense of community here,” Osborne said.

Demographics, corporate presence

The area’s demographics and corporate activity and the location’s traffic count are favorable for the business, according to Elliott.

The new store’s name comes from his vision of food as something that brings people together, such as when families or friends share meals. “I see food as a cohesive bond between people,” Elliott said.

Beechwood Market closed last summer after more than a half century in Shelton. The general food store had been struggling in its final years.