Cone & Steiner, a general store bringing together the entrepreneurs behind Fuel Coffee, Skillet and Retrofit Home, is preparing for an opening just before New Year’s Eve. The retail experts in the Cone & Steiner partnership tell CHS the store and deli counter will make sure to stock the item most-requested by customers as the store prepares to open — though you’ll have to wait for the first weekend of 2014 to enjoy it:
“There were a lot of people that asked for the Sunday New York Times,” Jon Milazzo tells CHS.
E Pike’s Retrofit retailers Milazzo and Lori Pomeranz are heading up the hard goods planning for the partnership creating the new store. CHS first reported on the Cone & Steiner project in September when we spoke with the Retrofit ladies and their business partners Dani Cone of Fuel and High 5 Pie and Josh Henderson of Skillet and the Huxley Wallace family of food+drink businesses.
Meanwhile, Linda Derschang’s fifth Capitol Hill food+drink venture is off and running on 19th Ave E after a week of “quiet openings” and preview dinners with friends and family. Its official opening is Thursday — 4 PM if you’d like to be there to make history. Last week, CHS showed you the first look inside Tallulah’s, the Derschang-styled “modern” (ie, less vintage) space meant to evoke Big Sur and provide a lighter, less tavern-y take on the food and drink maven’s successful barstaurant recipe. You also got a first peek at nearby cookie bakery and Molly Moon’s ice cream shop, Hello Robin.
Filling the middle bay of retail south of Tallulah’s and connecting through to the cookie and ice cream shop, Cone & Steiner is conceived as a neighborhood grocery store mixed with a deli counter featuring ready to eat foods and housemade sandwiches.
There will be a menu of sandwiches, cold salads and sides but it’s not designed as a full-on restaurant. It will, however, be a great place to stop in before a trip to Volunteer Park for a picnic — or for milk, dog food and a new cutting board for the apartment dwellers above and residents in the surrounding neighborhood. You can also take all of that rather straight-forward description and shine it up a bit — given the partners in the project, it’s unlikely to be an ordinary shopping experience.
“We get restless for a new project about once every ten years,” Milazzo told us then of her busy partners Cone and Henderson. “These guys get restless about every year.”
Perhaps thanks to their relatively slower pace of entrepreneurial activity, Milazzo and Pomeranz have nearly an endless supply of of ideas for stocking Cone & Steiner.
“The whole mercantile store is what makes it completely different,” Pomeranz said. “It’s what is going to set it apart.”
When the store opens — hopefully early next week — you’ll also find a pet section, kid’s stuff and basics of day to day life. UPDATE: The Cone & Steiner folks are targeting January 3rd.
“There will be a whole little hardware section — nails, hammer, screws,” Milazzo said. “All that stuff you really wish was in your neighborhood store but you can’t find. Everything from doormats to greeting cards.”
As for pricing this more interesting than ordinary shopping experience, “It’s not going to be a dollar store,” Pomeranz says. “That’s already our game — We’ve spent 8 years searching out lines that are affordable,” Milazzo quickly countered.
If you think everything about the coming soon Cone & Steiner at 19th and Mercer sounds exciting, well, just wait for the next one.
Yes, it seems like the Cone & Steiner entrepreneurial bug is catching. The group hasn’t even opened the first store and already has plans for Cone & Steiner II.
“The next one is going to be way more general store with an entire third of the space dedicated,” Milazzo said.
You can watch for confirmation of the first day of business and learn more at coneandsteiner.com.