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Native Roots grocery prepares to open in Oklahoma City's Deep Deuce area

The owners of Native Roots initially planned to keep their Norman store open, but they changed course as they confronted the increased competition from other stores.
by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: October 16, 2012 at 10:08 pm •  Published: October 17, 2012

Anticipating demand

The couple also are adding “staples” — most notably low-point beer and Sonic-style bags of ice — to meet the demand of the surrounding neighborhood. The store is set to offer a mix of frozen foods, cereals, dairy goods, produce, canned foods, sauces, pastas, cleaning and hygienic products. Runkle said that even though the space, 2,400 square feet, is smaller than the former 2,700-square-foot Norman store, the design allows for more shelving, freezer and refrigerator space.

The store's deli operation is being expanded to include a variety of sandwiches, prepared meals, salads and soups. And the spice bar — the original inspiration for the launching of Native Roots — is being expanded as well.

“Say you eat frozen entrees all the time, but then want to make something from scratch,” Runkle said. “We give you the spice components you need — the complicated part. We walk people through the cooking; we hold their hand and help them get through it.”

He said he expects the store to open this month — well ahead of their traditional special Thanksgiving offerings of turkeys, special variety spice rubs, and fresh-from-the-farm broccoli delivered to the store a couple of days before the holiday.

“No one does what we do,” Runkle said. “That's how we developed such a reputation in Norman in just five years.”

Runkle said the store will likely go through adjustments as he monitors what items are most in demand by customers. The store will be open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays, though Runkle said he may decide to remain open later on Thursday through Saturday nights.

With the seven-story Aloft Hotel set to open across the street next year and Deep Deuce already home to the Wedge Pizzeria, Deep Deuce Grill and, soon, Le Cep bistro and a liquor store, Runkle and Kaplan believe the area is on the verge of becoming Oklahoma City's first fully developed mixed-use urban neighborhood.

Kaplan believes Native Roots may well become the social hub of Deep Deuce.

“Interaction at a store like this is high,” Kaplan said. “Since we're a small store, we get to know our customers. And it becomes the point where you start to create a strong, vibrant community. I think it will be a hub of activity.”

by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's Metropolitan...
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