My Goodness: Building a Locally Minded Neighborhood Market in Regent Square
Updated: May 7, 2020
My Goodness owners, Jeanne Herbert & Sherree Goldstein, raised $35,000 in their Honeycomb campaign to purchase refrigeration equipment for the new shop.
Strolling down South Braddock Avenue in Regent Square, there’s a new shop on the block called My Goodness—it's half neighborhood market, half prepared food shop, and 100% friendly.
The owners, Sherree Goldstein and Jeanne Herbert, have both called Regent Square home for more than 18 years. Many know Sherree as the owner of much-loved Square Café, which has been serving seasonal local menus to the Pittsburgh community for the past 15 years. For Jeanne, a physical therapist of 38 years, helping people live healthy lives has been a lifelong mission.
Sherree and Jeanne teamed up to open My Goodness after hearing from neighbors how they needed a local grocery store in Regent Square. My Goodness was born out of their vision to offer healthy, delicious food to the community that’s organic, sustainably sourced, and local—sparing customers the need to examine every label.
After considering other financing options like traditional bank loans, Sherree and Jeanne decided to turn to crowdfunding after realizing how strongly it aligned with their business philosophy of being as local as possible. They saw crowdfunding as a way to not only get more community involvement in My Goodness, but also borrow money responsibly from their biggest fans.
“I don't like to ask for money,” Jeanne explains, “So it was really great because we could say, we're giving you an opportunity to help us grow, and you can actually have a good investment that you feel good about.”
A New Crowdfunding Record
Sherree and Jeanne launched their Honeycomb campaign to raise money to purchase refrigeration equipment, including an open air cooler for prepared food, an ice cream cabinet, and a cooler for local produce, meats, and dairy.
My Goodness reached its campaign funding goal of $35,000 within 36 hours of launching. Sherree recounts, “It was a Friday evening and when I woke up the next day, we had $28,000. Jeanne was out of town so I was screenshotting her every couple of hours showing how it had gone up.”
Goodness in the Air
With its sunshine yellow storefront, My Goodness is hard to miss while strolling down Braddock Avenue, even amid all the hustle and bustle of Regent Square. Walking inside, a modern yet inviting space with white tiled walls greets the eye. Food is cooked and prepared directly in the open kitchen, dotted by the occasional whirl from juicing machines making fresh-pressed organic juices.
Breakfast selections range from chia seed puddings to hearty breakfast sandwiches, while lunch options include grass-fed roast beef sandwiches, quinoa bowls, and more. Rows of shelves line the shop, full of locally grown eggs, dairy, meat, and produce. My Goodness also carries products from local favorites, such as scoops of Millie’s Ice Cream, baked goods from Madeleine’s Bakery & Bistro, Zeke’s Coffee, Pigeon Bagels, and bottles of Pittsburgh Honey.
Sherree says that the community response has been overwhelmingly supportive: “What we hear the most from people from the neighborhood who come into the store is, ‘Is it going okay? Because we really want you to be here. We want this to be successful.’”
What’s more, investors in My Goodness’s campaign have stopped by and continued to show support. “Most of our investors have come into the store. A couple of them are even regular clients now,” she adds.
The Secret Sauce to Growing a Business
For many small businesses, deciding how and when to grow is a complex recipe. Jeanne recommends taking gradual, strategic steps: “Start off small, do it really well, get the kinks out, and then expand. With My Goodness, we’re taking some small bites and trying to do these bites well.”
Sherree’s secret sauce for growing Square Café—and now My Goodness—has been being a good neighbor. “For both of us, it’s not just about a paycheck or a dollar at the end of the day. It’s really about the quality, the sustainability. What we offer the community, and what we offer to our employees. We’re all about fair wages, providing benefits and paid time off. Anything that we want as a person in life, I think we need to provide that for our employees.”
So what’s next for My Goodness? The team is hoping to expand the breakfast and lunch menus, offer a new line of grab ‘n go prepared dinners, and extend store hours.
“We cook with love and we serve with love. It’s a good life to love what you do, “ says Sherree.
My goodness, does it get better than that?
Interested in more stories about Pittsburgh small businesses? Check out this blog post on financing tips by the owner of The Pittsburgh Juice Company!