BD Provisions, located at 844 Ritchie Highway in Severna Park, offers hundreds of specialty bulk items and on-site coffee roasting.
It’s the latter item that makes BD Provisions unique in the area.
“We’re the only business in Anne Arundel County that has their own roaster and sells coffee,” said Philip Peters, who co-owns the store with Debra Saltz.
On Saturday mornings, Peters roasts various imported coffee beans.
“We have nine different roasts and 13 different coffees,” Peters said.
Peters and Nyla Everett, an assistant manager at BD Provisions, funneled beans into the roaster as Peters pointed out the flame inside and the port to watch the beans rotating. Depending on the roast, they’re done in about 15 minutes. The machine gives off a whistle — somewhere between a teapot and train — alerting shoppers to the opportunity to watch coffee beans tumble down the shoot.
BD Provisions, which is more spacious than the exterior of the business would suggest, offers more than 80 spices, more than 40 tea selections, health and wellness items, nuts, peanut butter machines, pet supplies, oils and vinegars, local raw honey, local fresh eggs and maple syrups.
“We have 240 bins on the floor that have everything from flours, sugars, pasta, dried fruit, trail mixes, chocolates, cookies — you name it,” said Peters, noting there’s also a gluten-free area.
Customers will also find hearty soup mixes with recipes on a QR code. And there are libation mixes.
“If someone you know likes Old Fashioneds, add a fifth of bourbon, wait four or five hours and let the sugars dissolve.”
Peters emphasized that there is no waste at BD.
“Here, everything is sold by weight, so you can buy as much or as little as you want,” Peters said.
There are compostable bags throughout and a jar exchange program. A 64-ounce jar, the largest, is $5. Peters explained that customers buy the jars, fill them, take them home and return them clean to reuse, or bring them back dirty and exchange them for clean ones.
On the right side of the store, visitors can sample various flavors of vinegar and olive oils.
Max Dustin, a senior at Severna Park High School who serves as a sales associate at BD Provisions, demonstrated how to taste and fill decorative jars with vinegar and olive oils. Dustin was offering suggestions of different olive oils, such as the blood orange oil, and vinegars, such as the Cask 10 vinegar, aged 10 years in Moderna, Italy.
Saltz brings specialty bread she buys from the local farmers market for customers to sample the vinegar and oils on most Saturdays.
It was a New England road-trip tradition that inspired Saltz and Peters.
Saltz and her partner, Matthew, would travel to Saltz’s home in Maine with Peters and his wife, Melinda. Saltz and Melinda were longtime friends who bonded after running marathons in all 50 states. On the way to and from Maine, they always stopped at a BD Provisions store in Connecticut, owned by their friends, to stock up. They would stop again on the way home.
The couples were wishing that there was a BD Provisions near their homes in Maryland, and then the idea hit. Why not bring one to Severna Park? Peters was seeking to transition out of the construction business and Saltz, a criminal trial lawyer by day, was looking ahead to a future transition.
Now, Peters oversees sales and engages customers.
“Phil is in his element,” exclaimed Hans Ruppenthal, a colleague from Peters’ previous business, during a visit to BD Provisions.
Saltz, who oversees the administration, staffing and scheduling agrees, adding that Peters is a “natural.”
The owners are both looking forward to the holidays with simmer pots of clover and other spices and gift baskets.
“We’re happy,” Saltz said.
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