A Denver store featuring local healthy foods is holding its grand opening this weekend.
The store, featuring the motto “Always Local, Never Long Distance,” is the creation of Lincolnton native Jeff Coffey. Family members Kyle and Megan Coffey assist him as manager and assistant manager.
According to Coffey, he and his wife came up with the idea after purchasing their second home in Asheville.
“About six years ago, we moved to downtown Asheville, and it was like our second home,” he said. “We noticed when were up there that everything there is about local food. If you go into any restaurant downtown, it’s all local food, and there’s probably 15 local farmer’s markets every week. So, once we started eating the food and going to the farmer’s market, we were just amazed at how much different it tasted to have local vegetables and lamb.”
Coffey explained that approximately 85 percent of the lamb purchased in the United States originates from Argentina and New Zealand, and it could have easily been processed six months ago.
“So, we started getting lamb in Asheville that was a lamb two days ago, and today, it’s on your table,” he said. “It was just totally different from anything we had ever eaten. So, a couple of years ago, we started putting together a plan to bring more local stuff to our area, the Denver, Lincolnton and Mooresville area. We started then just trying to put together a list of what products we would get and exactly how it would work.”
One of the store’s suppliers is Caldwell Farms, known for their homemade sausage.
“They’ve been selling it from their farm for over 50 years now, and they only sell it one day a month,” Coffey explained. “There are months that they’ll sell 1,800 to 2,000 pounds in a day just out of a little shack on the farm. Since there’s been such a demand for it, I told the owner, my son-in-law, that I would try to get it out more on the market on a regular basis.”
Coffey also plans to sell his homemade “Papa Beal’s Best Biscuits” locally as well as nationwide. His biscuits were derived from a recipe passed down from his great-grandmother, Ma Beal.
“I’ve added a few additions of my own, but the basic recipe is the one I learned when I was a kid,” he said. “I’ve been making homemade biscuits for groups and people all over. I’ve probably made biscuits for a thousand people or more, and everybody just thinks they’re the best biscuits they’ve had.”
According to Coffey, the buttermilk biscuits are hand-mixed and made from scratch. The store plans to offer four flavors of biscuits, including sausage, butter-top, cinnamon honey dipped and a current seasonal flavor of cheddar with dill.
“While our biscuits will be shipped nationwide, the other products will be shipped all over North Carolina,” he explained. “We also have delivery. You have your order in by 5 p.m. on Monday, and then Wednesday is our delivery day. We have a 25-mile delivery radius, and orders $50 or more are delivered free. Anything under that has a $5 delivery charge.”
Local lamb is also expected to be a popular item. Caldwell Farms recently purchased 25 lambs to raise for the 1000 Miles Fresher endeavor. Because the lambs are still too young, the store will be purchasing lamb from Clearview Farms in Lincolnton for the time being.
The couple will also be selling trout from Asheville based Sunburst Trout.
“They have fresh trout where it’s caught today and then tomorrow or the next day, it’s on your table,” Coffey said. “We’re looking for more and more local products, but the basis of our store is just to buy local because it’s healthier.”
Ultimately, the store plans to carry fresh farm eggs, free-range chickens, in-season vegetables and several local barbecue sauces and hot sauces.
“We’re going to eventually have free-range chickens, and if you taste a free-range chicken, compared to what you get at the grocery store that’s pumped full of water, sodium hormones and steroids, there’s no comparing the taste of the two chickens. It’s just about healthier living and buying from local farmers.”
1000 Miles Fresher’s grand opening will be held Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at 4120 Sinclair St. in Denver. Lincolnton Mayor John Gilleland is expected to cut the ribbon at 10 a.m. at the opening ceremony. 1000 Miles Fresher will host a cookout, offer free samples, live music, a bouncy castle for children and a Hunger Games display depicting information gleaned from experts on the making of the movie and the actual props used in the movie, courtesy of the Hunger Tours, another company that Coffey and his wife run in Asheville.
“We’ve toured people from 37 states and seven countries,” he said. “It’s getting ready to be eight countries because we have a mother and daughter from Australia that are coming just to do our two day tour and then head back. And that’s not unheard of…we’ve had people come from Canada and Japan to do the tour.”
1000 Miles Fresher will be open Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Those interested in learning more about 1000 Miles Fresher and its products can visit the website at www.1000milesfresher.com.