A Place For Everyone at Food For All Market
The new store on Germantown Avenue features allergy-friendly foods and other delicacies.
Research, persistence and a little good luck paid off for Amy Kunkel and her two business partners.
Kunkel is the chef and an owner at Food For All Market, a new store that features all sorts of different foods but caters particularly to children and adults with food allergies.
"It's warm and inviting," Kunkel said as she sat in a colorful chair at one of several tables in front of the Germantown Avenue store. "Healthy food cooked from scratch."
Brown rice pasta adorns the shelves, and petite chocolate cupcakes greet visitors at the counter. Plenty of work has gone into the store's items and its layout, but the store was conceived of under modest circumstances.
Kunkel first began her odyssey to learn a bit more about food preparation when her family discovered her son was allergic to dairy products. Her two younger daughters also have various allergies.
So Kunkel began to look at alternative ways to cook. Some of what she found challenged her pre-conceived notions about food.
"We're taught in America that drinking milk is good," she said.
Kunkel began to cook differently, incorporating products that her children could eat.
But there aren't a whole lot of readily available allergy-friendly options in locations throughout Philadelphia.
"Allergy friendly is hard," Kunkel said. "You can't just order a pizza."
She saw a need for a place that provided all of those options in one readily available spot. And since she already cooked in that particular way, Kunkel said, she felt like she would be well equipped to start such a business.
Kunkel began to look for storefronts in areas such as Glenside and Jenkintown before she spotted the one on Germantown Avenue. Pretty soon, she knew that's where the store needed to be.
She had plenty of help along the way. Rachel Kern and Leslie McLaughlin, who also own the store, do a lot of the baking in the facility. Kern specializes in gluten-free baked goods and McLaughlin is an award-winning pastry chef.
Others assisted in different ways. One friend designed the store's light fixtures, while another helped devise the logo. The tables that sit outside were made from various materials, and the store works to compost and recycle as much as possible.
And four years after the idea for the market had been born, Food For All flung open its doors Sept. 10. Its grand opening, complete with samples and giveways, was Oct. 1.
The store already has its loyal customers, among them Kunkel's children, who happily walk around a place that has plenty of food they can eat. They're not the only children, though, that have taken a keen interest in Food For All.
There has been one six-year old girl in particular, Kunkel said, who is allergic to wheat. When she comes into the store, she excitedly selects items that she knows were created with her in mind.
The children, according to Kunkel, aren't the only ones who have noticed the market's offerings.
"I've had a lot of moms come up to me and say, 'Thank you so much for this,'" she said.
Food For All Market, 7127 Germantown Ave. Open Tuesday-Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. 267-297-7122. http://foodforallmarket.com.