Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Owner of the Buford Farm Fresh Market Brenda Mauritz, right, assists customers Myra and Cooter Jackson of Buford with picking some apples on Tuesday. Brenda and her husband Fred Mauritz support locally grown produce and products in their neighborhood market.
BUFORD -- With an infectious grin, Fred Mauritz loves to take customers through his store, stopping to let them sample the Amish-style popcorn, juicy red strawberries and any number of other foods he feels are "to die for."
As co-owners of Buford Farm Fresh Market, Mauritz and wife, Brenda, are passionate about the goods in their store, many of which are from "right down the road."
In an atmosphere reminiscent of a hometown farmer's market, the couple sells locally grown food and locally made goods, but customer Holly Bagwell said it's not the products that drive customers to the store but the people behind the counter.
"You can have good stuff you're selling, but if you don't have a great person behind the product it can turn people off," Bagwell said. "Brenda and Fred just welcome everybody into the fold ... it's the people makes the store."
Brenda agreed. "You really have to notice the customer. You have to acknowledge them," she said. "This is a person, not just a customer."
Some of her favorite items offered at the store include homemade candles, soaps, pottery and cookbooks, all of which came from less than 50 miles from the business.
"I have a passion for helping local families because I want them to share in our success," Brenda said.
Financial success, however, is not the couple's goal.
"We're not in this for financial reasons," Brenda said. "We love what we do and care about people. It's not a business, it's part of our lives."
Both husband and wife retired recently from their day jobs to open the country store last October. Among its wide variety of offerings, the store features fresh apples from Ellijay, vegetables from Jaemor Farm in Alto, fresh frozen goods from Jefferson as well as various homemade items, gifts and collectables.
Customer Robert Glovan of Flowery Branch said the couple must be doing something right.
"I come in here all the time," Glovan said. "I feel like this place has a uniqueness to it."
Glovan said sometimes he comes out of the store with jams and jellies, while other times he leaves with bags full of fruit. "I always come out of here with something different. I like that."
Glovan said he also appreciates being greeted when he walks into a business. "That's the way it should be everywhere," he said.
Brenda said she'd have it no other way.
"We're at such a fast pace in society," Brenda said. "Nobody acknowledges anybody anymore. We go the extra mile, because that's the way a business should be run."
What: Buford Farm Fresh Market
Where: 5751 Little Mill Road, Buford
More info: 770-614-7500