Local restaurants in Carrboro and North Carolina farmers have the opportunity to increase business by selling food to the new Carrboro United local food hub.
Former Fleet Feet Inc. CEO Tom Raynor said he created Carrboro United as a way to revitalize the local economy by buying food from local restaurants and farmers and serving it to Carrboro and Chapel Hill residents.
“The problem was immediate, and it was our responsibility to find a solution for the problem,” Raynor said. “We don't have a week, or two weeks, or months to take action.”
Raynor said he expects Carrboro United will inject about $100,000 a week into the Carrboro economy.
Customers pick up their meals on hub days that occur three days a week. The menu changes each time, but each menu item is a box intended to feed a family of four for about $10 per person. Customers can view the menu and place their order online by visiting Carrboro United’s website.
Raynor said Carrboro United sold out on the first hub day, which was Saturday. About 1,000 meals were sold. He said he expects to sell 2,500 meals on Tuesday, the second hub day.
The next hub day will be Thursday, March 26, and orders must be placed online by 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25.
Glasshalfull, a restaurant participating in the initiative, sold 25 family meals on the first hub day, co-owner Jim Wald said.
Wald said Glasshalfull is abiding by the same health standards they always have.
“We are following all of the health department recommendations,” Wald said. “We are still doing the same as we would if the restaurant were here, such as using gloves and checking for cross-contamination of cutting boards.”
Zoë Dehmer, director of operations and planning for Acme Food & Beverage Co., is acting as the logistical and operations director for Carrboro United.
“Restaurants need guests to survive,” Dehmer said. “We need a way to have customers and to bridge the time between now and when we are able to serve people in our restaurants again.”
Dehmer said restaurants must prepare all food according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, such as using gloves and sanitizing the workspace. She said at the pick-up site in front of Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro United staff wear sanitary gloves when loading the meals into the trunks of customers’ cars.
Dehmer said they are also trying to get hygienic masks for their staff to use.
She said she is speaking with vendors from Carrboro’s farmers market about selling produce, and she expects Carrboro United will sell more produce from farmers in the near future.