Downtown Durham’s neighborhood (and gourmet) bodega is finally going to gain some more visibility.
Owner Yvettte West says the Bulldega team is excited about the move. The new spot provides thirty-eight-hundred square feet of space (a generous jump from its current twenty-two-hundred-square-foot location). One City Center, at 110 Corcoran Street, is a twenty-seven-story condo and office tower currently under construction. And the fact that at least one local business is going into its ground-floor retail space—as opposed to all chains—is a big deal.
Bulldega opened in 2016 with a focus on mostly local food products and to cater to a downtown core growing increasingly residential. The store carries everything from locally roasted coffee to an impressive selection of nut butters and North Carolina honey to cold sandwiches from Saladelia and Toast to basics like Heinz ketchup and Meyer brand dish soap. It also appeals to gift-givers looking for the perfect Durham memento, with gift baskets and other locally crafted sundries. An already robust selection of wine and beer will dramatically expand in the One City Center location.
Manager Will Drake knows 80 percent of Bulldega’s customers and says the first store has served as an incubator for what Durham grocery retail could be, especially with the likely coming influx of downtown residents.
“Real Durhamites are up for walking,” he says. “The snowstorm was really good for us.”
Bulldega's new space will include a full kitchen, though West says “it’s not going to be a restaurant.” It will, however, have a bigger grab-and-go case. “To pick up an egg and sausage biscuit in the morning before you head out for work,” she says.
West also plans to increase the grocery section, especially meats and fresh foods.
“We’re very picky about the kind of meats we carry—they’re not all local, but they’re from farmers that care about humane treatment of animals,” she says. “We’re not trying to be everything for everybody, but know not everyone wants to pay six ninety-nine for a dozen eggs. They want to pay two dollars. We also don’t want to be the exclusive, expensive shop on the corner.”