“You came to get some wings, didn't you,” MacDougall said last week to Mukunda Das, a vegetarian who frequents the store.
And by “wings” MacDougall means a vegetarian product made with faux meat, because everything sold in the specialty store at 14521 Main St. caters to a vegetarian or vegan clientele, or those trying to minimize meat consumption.
There's vegan ham and vegetarian ribs. Vegan mayonnaise. The vegan king prawn, which is nearly indistinguishable from actual prawn, is one of the items most frequently sold out among a Chinese line of artificial seafood, which MacDougall said accounts for 40 percent of store sales some weeks.
“This is a community that hasn't been served by a specialty shop such as this,” said MacDougall, who previously owned the Computer Doctor repair store before establishing the Alachua grocery.
Harvest Health and Whole Foods, which is smaller than many convenience stores, might be the only vegetarian store between Tallahassee and Gainesville, MacDougall said.
MacDougall said among the store's biggest customers is the Hare Krishna community within Alachua County. He estimates that including the Krishnas, there are approximately 700 vegan and vegetarians living within the city purchasing approximately $1.7 million a year in specialty grocery items.
MacDougall said he hopes more of that buying power will remain in Alachua rather than going to Gainesville, wheAlachua vegetarians frequent stores such as Ward's Supermarket or Mother Earth Market.