STONINGTON — There are no vape products at Wild Side Market in Pawcatuck, but if owners and husband-wife team Steven Reis and Ginger Costa are able to make their dreams a reality, it might be about the only thing you won’t be able to get at the South Broad Street convenience store.
Inside the renovated retail space on the long-vacant first floor of the brown brick building at 116 South Broad, customers will find a unique selection of local products, including slices of Woodfella’s pizza, Costa’s calzones and house salads made fresh daily, and southern New England products such as Terra Firma milks, Bell & Evans chicken or Yalla Organic products from Fairfield, Conn.
It’s a modern take on the classic convenience store, and one that Reis and Costa hope will allow a spotlight to shine on local small businesses and Costa’s experience as a former cafe owner and executive chef.
“Our goal is to become more of that classic neighborhood market, with fresh and enjoyable prepared foods and local products that people can get in a quick, easy way when on the go,” Costa said.
Wild Side Market formally opened its doors two weeks ago, although there is still plenty yet to come. The store brings a retail use to the space that had remained vacant for the past half-decade before Fiore Properties LLC and former owner Richard C. Fiore agreed to sell the property to Reis and Costa last year.
It took a little time and a lot of elbow grease to get things into shape, Costa admits, but with the doors now open, a range of options already available and the next refrigerator case coming in one week, Costa said Tuesday that she and her staff are focused on the future.
A 27-year restaurateur and caterer who previously owned her own cafe before working for several years as the executive chef at the Belmont Market in Wakefield, Costa said she and Reis, both Ashaway residents, decided now was the time to take a chance.
Rather than the typical big-name candy display commonly seen when you enter a convenience store, a variety of fresh sandwiches, pasta and potato salads, organic halva and Yalla drinks stand beside a case containing locally-sourced potatoes and onions. To the left, there are numerous hot options for customers to take, including the pizza slices and Costa’s own calzones.
“Everything I have done, I have always done from scratch,” Costa said of her prepared foods. “I want to offer some quick, but wholesome, offerings that people can enjoy.”
Looking for a drink to go with that? The market’s staff is also proud of the “drink wall,” which offers everything from Moxie — as a Maine transplant, it was a selection that reminded Costa of home — to Liquid Death mountain water. There is plenty of coffee, hot cocoa, fountain drinks and other options as well.
The business is currently seeking proper permitting and hopes to soon become one of the only convenience stores in town to also offer beer and wine options as well, allowing people to grab themselves a meal and a six-pack on a Friday night if that’s what they are seeking.
In the coming weeks, the store will also seek to landscape a bit and will install an outdoor bistro area for people to sit and enjoy.
“Outdoors only, the town was clear on that,” Costa said with a smile.
Costa is also a breakfast-lover and will soon begin cooking breakfast sandwiches to order and will seek to expand hot sandwich options. Costa and Reis also have additional unused first-floor space for development, and she said there are a number of opportunities they are exploring.
Costa said the business’ long-term goal is to simply to provide a friendly experience, quality local specialties and in-and-out options on the go that will keep its customers coming back regularly.
“At the end of the day, we want to become a part of the neighborhood,” Costa said.
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