October 3, 2019

The Joyful Food Co. Selects The Shops on Montevallo as Site for Second Retail Location in Birmingham Area

the joyful food co shops on montevallo

Co-owners Rebecca Wanagat and Elizabeth Wood promote the concept, which markets premade meals and baked goods, as Alabama’s only 100% gluten-free and paleo-friendly food company

The Joyful Food Co., a retail concept that co-owners Rebecca Wanagat and Elizabeth Wood promote as “Alabama’s only 100% gluten-free and paleo-friendly food company,” has signed a lease with Continental Realty Corporation (CRC) for space within The Shops on Montevallo. Wanagat and Wood intend to open their second location in the greater Birmingham metropolitan area within the 65,000 square foot retail center situated on 4500 Montevallo Road late this year or in early 2020. Approximately seven to ten full and part-time employees are expected to work at the store. Kelsi B. Holman, Commercial Leasing Associate for CRC and Alex Benson of Southpace Properties represented the landlord, and Casey Howard of Harbert Realty Services represented the tenant in this transaction.

The concept originally began as a bakery when Wood, searching for a new diet that would help solve the chronic stomach issues being experienced by her son, led her on a path to create a gluten and grain-free bakery. Facing constant neck pain and chronic inflammation herself, both health situations were rectified when, according to Wood, “we completely cleaned up our diets.” Later that year, Wood partnered with Wanagat to introduce a comprehensive line of prepared meals to complement the baked goods product offering, and soon The Joyful Food Co. was born.

“Rapid growth caused us to outgrow our existing location, particularly the kitchen space, and we were interested in expanding our business in an effort to reach more customers,” Wood explained. “The Shops on Montevallo are located on the other side of town from our existing space and near many different neighborhoods, so we see significant expansion opportunities,” she added.

Prepared meal varieties include Buffalo chicken, classic chicken salad, salmon patties, grilled chicken, sloppy joe sandwiches, meatloaf, and bacon burgers. Available side dishes are German potato salad, broccoli slaw, smoky-sweet potatoes, braised organic cabbage, and pastured citrus carnitas, among others. A number of assorted soups are offered, as well as nuts, ranch dressing, breakfast sausage, and other specialty items. Nearly all meals produced and sold at The Joyful Food Co. have been endorsed by the Whole30 lifestyle.

More than 25 freshly-baked goods are offered including apple crisp, Swiss cake roll, pumpkin bread, pecan squares, chocolate chip blondies, monster cookies with chocolate chips and muffins. Granola bars, cookie dough, cupcakes, flatbread, and waffles are also available. All baked goods are made with almond or coconut flours and sweetened naturally with honey or pure maple syrup.

“It represents a dramatic shift for a family to pivot from a standard diet to a clean eating lifestyle,” Wanagat explained. “Cooking and baking using gluten-free and paleo-friendly principles can be an exhausting and overwhelming experience and we make it easier on families. All that is necessary before eating is to heat up our meals. Many of the customers that walk through our doors have a health issue and are looking for an answer to the situation. Consumers purchasing our food items can feel good about the type and quality of food they are serving their families.”

The Shops on Montevallo services one of Birmingham’s wealthiest neighborhoods, Mountain Brook, and draws consumer traffic from the adjacent Crestwood and Crestline neighborhoods. More than 50,000 households are contained within a three-mile radius with average household incomes approaching $90,000. The center is anchored by Planet Fitness, with additional tenants comprised of BedzzzExpress, Pizza Hut, CoreLife, and Subway.  Several prominent spaces, ranging from 1,500 to nearly 4,800 square feet of space, are still available within The Shops on Montevallo.

“The Joyful Food Co. is a proven and successful retail concept and a tenant that will create a new consumer base to The Shops on Montevallo because of its unique offerings in the marketplace,” explained David Donato, Senior Vice President of CRC. “The owners are creative entrepreneurs and we believe this unique business concept will attract new consumers which will benefit all of our existing tenants.”

About CRC
Continental Realty Corporation (CRC), is focused on acquiring value-add retail and multifamily properties, located throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions of the United States. Headquartered in Baltimore and founded in 1960, CRC is a full-service commercial real estate and investment company. The privately-owned firm owns and manages a diversified portfolio of retail centers, consisting of over 4.5 million square feet of commercial space, as well as almost 10,000 apartment homes. Positioned throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions, the portfolio’s value exceeds $2 billion.