Linda Bellino opened Smith & East Marketplace in December 2017 with a trio of missions in mind: the desire to offer the greater South Salem area local and regional food specialties; to be a community gathering spot; to provide a place where home bakers could sell their products.
Bellino, a Vista resident for 28 years, saw an opportunity to “bring customers the foods and beverages that I put on my own table.” She’s found that people in the area are “truly passionate about knowing where their food comes from and supporting local farmers and food entrepreneurs.” Smith & East, Bellino notes, is part of a movement where shoppers come into local stores daily and plan their meals around what’s available. The store carries local eggs that don’t need refrigeration, a large variety of produce from farms that are either certified or practicing organic, locally roasted coffees, and bread and baked goods from area women who have taken a hobby and turned it into a business. “I love that my business is empowering someone who has a talent, and many of my customers know these women and want to support them and the store.”
Smith & East has “grab and go” sandwiches, salads, and soups for lunch, ice cream from Ferris Acres Farm in Newtown, CT, and a lovely variety of cheeses, honey, syrup, and pasta among other items. There are a few seats indoors and outside, and Bellino says she’s gratified to see neighbors of all ages have been coming in and drinking coffee or enjoying a brownie. “In small towns there’s a need for shops that bring great produce, baked goods without preservatives, and small-batch products to the residents.”