I had a chance to stop by the new Bear's Honeypot store on Saturday for its grand opening, and sampled the unique selection of cheese, vegetables, jams and other items.
A lively crowd gathered at the store despite a heavy rainfall to welcome owner Barret Lang to the Odenton business community. Bear's is advertised as the place to go for specialty items made by local farmers and producers.
"We're going to have stuff that no one else has," Lang said as he greeted new customers. "I don't think there's any other store around like this, where it's all local."
There was marina sauce from Randallstown, Delmonico steaks from Pennsylvania, and blueberry flavored honey produced by monks from Berryville, VA. (Blueberry honey? I didn't even know that was a thing.)
A variety of tomatoes lined the walls, along with plenty of jars of jams and jellies. Bear's has a freezer full of high-quality meat and frozen pastas, plus a fridge with orange juice, butter, yogurt and eggs.
At the front of the store is a main counter offering cheese of varying kinds. Bear's was offering a wide spread of mozzerella, and also had goat, sheep and other cheeses for sale.
"I think we're going to be one of the best local cheese shops around," Lang said.
West Anne Arundel Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Claire Louder came for a ribbon cutting, and walked away with two large bags of items. She said she used to have to travel to Annapolis to get many of the items available at Bear's.
"I think it's terrific to be able to go right down the street to be able to get the things I want," she said.
Louder said Bear's is a perfect model of the "buy local" effort that the chamber has been pushing, and anticipates that the shop will work with other small business owners in the area on partnerships and promotions.
Lang decided to open Bear's Honeypot after working with local producers at farmers markets in the region. So far, he said he sells items from about 25 producers, but is adding more everyday. He said he's big on helping sell local products because it helps the local economy.
"The money is staying in the community," he said. "If I buy banana bread from a guy in Annapolis, and he buys his bananas from a store in Annapolis, the money goes right back in."