THE SAVI PROVISIONS EMPIRE TAKING OVER ATLANTA

You’ve likely seen a Savi Provisions store in your neighborhood, with its green awning and white lettering, selling wine, beer, groceries, and artisanal food. Savi Provisions has announced its 16th store opening in the city, the latest one premiering in Virginia Highlands. Additionally, last week the City of Atlanta selected the business to open at the Grant Park Gateway retail space. So, where are all these stores coming from?

“I cannot say enough good things about the citizens of this great city. They’ve embraced the brand,” says Paul Nair, founder of Savi Provisions.

“We’re growing and that doesn’t mean we will lose touch with the neighborhoods,” says Paul Nair, founder of Savi Provisions.

The first Savi Provisions opened in 2009 in Inman Park, selling local produce, drinks, and ready-made foods like sandwiches and soups. It was inspired by the bodegas in New York, Nair says, where he spent a lot of time when he studied hospitality management at Cornell University.

After the success of the first store in Inman Park, Brookhaven, Midtown, and Decatur locations followed, offering a neighborhood-centric shop to buy a bottle of wine for dinner, a baguette or a salad, and a sea salt chocolate chip cookie. Nair says he’s keeping locality in mind and evolving with consumer shopping trends.

“Shopping habits of people are changing; they are more into seasonality, and not into bulking. It’s been shifting to where people buy groceries week by week, and it’s a much healthier option,” says Nair.

A report by the Deloitte Consumer Industry Center suggests a recent shift from “mass to micro” grocery shopping because consumers want businesses responsible for “build[ing] trust, a sense of shared values, and positive societal contributions.” A one-size-fits-all mega-store format, like Walmart, Kroger, and Costco, may not work for a diverse city with diverse needs. So, in come the neighborhood stores.

After opening his first eight locations, Savi Provisions started offering franchises. With 16 stores in Atlanta and counting — more locations are expected in South and Downtown Atlanta in current food deserts — the business has also grown to Tennessee and North Carolina, with over 20 total stores. With increasing locations, Nair does worry about losing the business ethos to franchise owners.

“We are looking into reacquiring some franchise locations and reprogramming them,” says Nair.

The program is about sourcing produce and products from local farmers, offering guided beer and tastings, and a communal space for people to meet. Nair says his motivation for the business is organic growth and a direct investment in Atlanta. He quotes a study by American Express that found that “$0.68 of every dollar spent at a small business in the U.S. stays in the local community.”

Savi’s economic impact may be why the city picked it for a prime spot in Grant Park.

“This is a fitting combination of beautifying one of our most historic neighborhoods with a locally sourced, community-centered grocer,” says Atlanta mayor Andre Dickens in an official statement. “Thank you to Councilmember Jason Winston for his partnership in ensuring access to fresh food for Atlanta residents — in District 1 and across the city — and thank you to the Departments of Procurement and Parks and Recreation for the thoughtful enhancement of this community,”

The Grant Park Gateway is a mixed-use development with parking and recreational amenities in the Grant Park neighborhood. Businesses bid to win a spot at the retail space in the development. Right now, there is no timeline on the new Savi Provisions in Grant Park.

(Above) Renderings of Savi Provisions at Grant Park Gateway.

“We hope to expand on the service aspect of it — much better coffee, dessert counter, and on-premise beverage consumption,” says Nair.

Savi Provisions is also investing in a beverage database AI program designed to make recommendations to customers with what’s available in-store. Nair says the program will help his staff in all stores stay knowledgeable on consumer needs and what the store can offer. As for new locations, don’t blink too fast. You may see another Savi right around the corner.

2024-06-13T20:25:02Z dg43tfdfdgfd