Meet Michelle Deatherage, the brains behind Duckweed Urban Grocery. This independent grocery store has fascinated me since it began in 2011, originally packed into just 500 square feet in Downtown Tampa with the goal of providing groceries to the under-served downtown Tampa residents. And how they do so! Just imagine 500 square feet lined floor to ceiling with groceries– canned goods, paper goods, gourmet condiments, beer and wine, just to name a few items. It was the most efficient use of space I’ve ever witnessed!
In July of 2013, the original Duckweed Urban Grocery moved to an absolutely palatial (by comparison) 2500 sq ft space in the ground floor of the Element apartment building. Now Duckweed provides more than that cup of sugar you need at 9pm, but also a meeting place, a café, and even a vintage arcade machine. You can still find daily sundries, and in addition prepared meals, unique salsas and pickles, honey, chocolates, and craft brews (just to name a few), most sourced by local artisans and vendors. Duckweed provides a decidedly authentic Tampa flavor to downtown residents and workers. It is estimated the Duckweed carries about 3000 items!
Duckweed opened their second location in the Channel District area in April of 2016 in a site reminiscent of their first– this one an interesting 14 by 150 foot space. You’ve got to love their ability to adapt to and make the most of their physical space. You might say that skill is baked in– after all, Duckweed Urban Grocery is named after the actual duckweed– the smallest flowering plant and an important high-protein food source for some animals. Appropriate, wouldn’t you say?
Now time for more Duckweed news! Just opening now at the beginning of May 2017, Farmacy Vegan Kitchen + Bakery is taking over the cafe operation in the Downtown location, with Tim Fedorko, Charles Rumph and Michelle Stapleton developing a new healthy and delicious vegan café concept.