By LOIS KINDLE
There’s always a buzz when a new retailer opens in South Shore. And it’s especially true, when the business is like no other in the area.
This week, Annette Brama and her husband, Brian, opened Bulk Food Superstore in the Cypress Village Shopping Center, 3804 S.R. 674, Ruskin.
“We sell dried bulk products in bins, and the customer decides what to purchase and how much,” she said. “It’s all weighed afterward (at the register). Customers literally scoop up the savings.”
The 2,700-square-foot store offers all kinds of nuts, grains, cereals and granola; assorted flours, rice, quinoa and coconut; cookies and crackers; soup bases; coffee beans, flavored cappuccino mixes, smoothie mixes, organic and conventional teas and spices; and assorted pastas. There are also oodles of trail mix, candies, Whimzee pet treats and fresh peanuts for grinding peanut butter on site; GMO-free, sugar- and gluten-free products, soft drinks and grab-and-go snacks.
In addition to its bulk products, Bulk Food Superstore features a full health and beauty section of vitamins, supplements, essential oils, natural hair and body care products and more.
It also carries pre-packaged items like raw, unfiltered honey, coconut water, coconut oil and Bob’s Red Mill products; Simply Organic gravies and mulling spice; Tender & True pet foods; Miami Oil & Beyond oils and vinegars; and more.
If customers don’t see their favorites, she will try to order and carry them, Annette said.
“We want people to come in, shop around and have fun,” she added. “Everything in the store will be on sale through January.”
“It’s fantastic,” said Sun City Center resident Barbara Duncan, as she shopped in the store for the first time. “It has a great atmosphere. The first thing I noticed was how clean and fresh it is. There are so many things to choose from.”
The Bramas are originally from Ontario, Canada, where buying from a bulk store is as common as shopping at the local grocer. In the early ’90s they moved to Germany where they “were exposed to a healthier lifestyle and became more environmentally conscience,” Annette said. Annette worked in a health food store while the couple lived in Europe, and when they moved back to Canada three years later, she took a job as a sale representative for a natural products distributor.
Brian owned a commercial refrigeration business for 20 years. He most recently designed and built all the fixtures in the store.
“We moved here in August to be closer to my husband’s family in Manatee County,” Annette said. “When my sister-in-law (also a Canadian) told me how much she missed shopping at the Bulk Barn back home, I said, ‘That’s it. We’re opening a bulk food store.’”
The Bulk Food Superstore is the Bramas’ first venture into retail. They will celebrate its grand opening all day Jan. 21 with a live remote WSCQ 96.3 FM Sun Radio broadcast from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will include free samples, a jelly bean competition and raffled-off gift baskets.
Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.