Shanen Cute, owner of Urban Nectar in Berlin, Md. didn’t always shop local, but once she started, she couldn’t stop.
“The more I’ve gotten away from big box chain stores and realized local talent is in Worcester County, it blows my mind how sustainable people can be,” Cute said.
Urban Nectar, formerly known as Local Mojo, is a health food store specializing in local produce, local art and local activities. At the shop, Cute offers anything from fresh tomatoes to mermaid paintings.
Cute recently moved her business to Berlin because she wanted a bigger space for local farmers and artists to showcase their goods. Due to Urban Nectar’s location and large backyard, Cute decided to open up Urban Nectar Farmers Market, which has been around since October.
At any given time, this Berlin farmers market showcases 8-12 vendors, including Eastern Shore Kettle Korn, Uncle Jon’s Soap, Stag Run Farm, Brooklyn Baking Barons, Night Kitchen Coffee, Returning Tide and Goatopia llc.
The farmers market is held every Thursday from 3-6 p.m. When the market ends for the day, Cute buys all the items that have not been sold at the farmers market and sells them in her store.
In addition to the shop and the farmers market, Cute is opening up a kitchen in a few weeks.
In the kitchen, the local business owner plans to showcase a different chef each day. A few nights currently in the making include Jamaican night, Hawaiian night and Mexican night.
Once the kitchen is open, customers are able to eat in or carry out. Urban Nectar will be working alongside its neighbor, Burley Oak Brewing Company, to make sure delicious cuisine can be enjoyed at the brewery as well. Cute firmly believes the more local businesses help each other out, the better off each business will be.
“The more the local restaurant owners support the local growers the better is it to keep money in our community,” Cute said. “There are already so many restaurant owners committed to buying local like the Blacksmith [Bar & Restaurant]…Mother’s Cantina… The Shark [on the Harbor]… The more places that buy local, the more farmers can grow because they have an outlet.”
Cute says all the different things going on at Urban Nectar are what really sets the business apart.
In the past, Urban Nectar has held paint nights, soap making classes, nutritional classes, cooking classes, edible plant classes and more.
“Anything any one in the community has an interest in, I want to do a class for,” Cute says.
In the future, Cute will host a homemade bug spray and sunscreen class, among others. The small business owner says her next step is to expand to classes for kids.
Although most of Urban Nectar’s goods and ideas are fueled by Cute’s own interests including recycled art and local produce, she believes she couldn’t do it without her customers.
“The people that walk in the door of any natural goods star are committed to eating healthy. Even families—there’s so many families eating healthy now because of what’s happening with all the processed food. Once people realize they don’t have to leave a footprint, we’re better off.”
Cute says the town of Berlin has thrived immensely over the past couple of years, not just for being America’s Coolest Small Town but because there are hardly any chain businesses in the town. Cute says Berlin is made up of all mom-and-pop shops committed to being the best they can be.
To learn more about Urban Nectar, visit www.facebook.com/oclocalmojo/timeline.