Have you dreamed of opening your own shop, running the kitchen, feeding the community, and doing it with a friend? Well, Ann Delisi, host of WDET-FM’s (101.9) “Essential Music” on the weekends, and Lisa Brancato, former director of strategic partnerships for the radio station did just that this year. They purchased Sprout House market in Grosse Pointe Park from long-time owners Blake and Marie Maconochie.
The neighborhood grocery store has remained a family-owned business for more than 40 years, with the Maconochie’s having owned it for the last 20.
While it may seem unexpected for two women in their mid-careers in radio to shift gears and purchase a market, it actually all adds up.
“During COVID I saw this tiny ad in the Grosse Pointe News for a Health Food store for sale. It just kept leaping off the page at me as I was at home, working remotely, thinking about what came next for me. I finally pursued it and learned it was a favorite corner store I’d been shopping at for years, so I asked Ann if she wanted to own it with me and she didn’t hesitate,” said Brancato.
Says Delisi, “Lisa had been talking about this neighborhood grocery store and I kept thinking, ‘boy she’s going to love that.’ The next thing I knew she was asking me to do it with her and I was saying yes. We haven’t looked back since.”
Delisi, who loves to cook, runs the kitchen while Brancato, having worked for years in sales and event planning, handles the front of house.
“Ann is rocking it out in the kitchen, and my experience in planning, being reactive, and anticipating customers’ needs translates well up front,” says Brancato.
The market – located at 15233 Kercheval at Beaconsfield – offers unique vegan and vegetarian options such as an Avocado Sandwich, a Mediterranean Tofu Sandwich, and a Cheddar Veggie Sandwich, along with Spicy Sesame Noodles, several soups including Thai Peanut, Tarragon Split Pea, and Indian Red Lentils, salads and also fresh produce, bread, and an assortment of beverages, including fresh pressed juices made to order and vitamin supplements.
“It’s amazing the power of an avocado sandwich,” says Brancato. We have a customer whose wife has severe food restrictions, and he comes in nearly every day and gets that sandwich for her. It feels good to know we can be that for somebody.”
Not surprisingly, the store supports several ‘regulars.’ Says Delisi, “We have customers who enjoy special blends when it comes to the pressed juices and it’s fun that we all know what “Ron’s” order is and what Judy’s blend is. It feels very small town.”
The two took over on May 23, 2022, and when asked if anything has surprised them to date, they both pointed to the overwhelming support and devotion the community has for the market.
There is so much love for this little store it’s amazing. People wanted it to end up in the right hands, and we are working hard to live up to that because that’s what the community deserves,
Adds Brancato, “We could not have done this without the staff that has stayed on. This is a group of really incredible people who welcomed us with open arms and we are so grateful.”
The two have no plans to change anything when it comes to the recipes behind their sought-after soups and sandwiches, but they plan to introduce some new things. Delisi is trying some new recipes in her home kitchen and is also extremely excited to explore working with others in the community.
“We want to bring in more products made by food entrepreneurs in metro Detroit,” says Delisi.
Case in point the market started carrying Kombucha made by Urbanrest in Ferndale just last week.
They also plan to tie into the community through events and seasonal happenings and will participate in the After 6 Street Fairs this summer in addition to other things.
When asked what they are most excited about going forward, Delisi says, “I’m eager to be able to work with more farms, collaborate with others in Detroit, and expand on the great thing that the Sprout House is.”
Brancato answers, “Being part of this community and exploring ways to weave into the fabric and support the people here is what energizes me most.”
In closing, Delisi says, “Sprout House is one of the most unique places I have ever visited, and now I’m part owner of it! We’re just taking it all in and excited that others in the neighborhood and Metro Detroit area feel the exact same way.”
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