Andrea and Aisha Nash opened the Spice Rack in Chestnut Hill on May 4. (photo by Emerson Max)

by Emerson Max

The Spice Rack, a specialty spice shop at 8431 Germantown Ave. in Chestnut Hill, opened May 4, and has had a great response from the community thus far.

The store is in a prime location in the center of Chestnut Hill, and patrons are greeted with a sleek and modern display room where they can browse the many wares The Spice Rack offers.

The shop offers a wide range of products, including olive oil, vinegar, maple syrup, pasta, pancake and waffle mix, and a wide variety of spices. The store focuses on selling small-batch organic goods, as they wish to support small, local businesses.

Andrea and Aisha Nash opened the store together.

“The community has been extremely welcoming,” Andrea said. “A lot of the business owners have come and introduced themselves, or we have gone to their shops and said hello. We feel like it’s a niche that needed to be filled, and so far we feel like the product line that we carry seems to go over well with the customers.”

Andrea and Aisha have been making their own spice blends for more than 10 years, and have now brought those products to the shop, along with high-quality, organic products from other merchandisers.

The focus on supporting other businesses like The Spice Rack is of the utmost important to the Nashes.

“The relationships we have with other companies; we want to be on a first name basis with them,” Andrea said. “We don’t want to deal with big corporations – we want to deal with mom and pop places no different than us.”

A key factor in the decision to open up the store was the couple’s 15-month-old son, Alexander.

“We needed something that would give us structured hours and off days with him,” Andrea explained.

“He is our store mascot,” she added with a smile.

The Spice Rack is not the first specialty spice store to open in Chestnut Hill. Penzeys Spices had a location at 8528 Germantown Ave. until its closure on March 20, 2016. In a letter Penzeys sent to the Local, the owners explained that they were looking for a larger spot in the area with more foot traffic. For Chestnut Hill residents upset about the loss of the store, the Spice Rack is a great new option.

The owners are also in the process of developing a website where they will offer the most “exotic” of their spices for purchase. They also are focusing on putting recipes on the site, many of which will come from the feedback of customers who use their products.

For those who are hesitant to spend the extra cash, or stray from the common spices or cooking oils that they are used to, Andrea and Aisha feel that their products speak for themselves. They welcome anyone to bring their own spices or oils in to the store to compare them with the Spice Rack’s products.

“Let’s do a taste test – if the taste is the same to you, then I’ll keep my mouth shut,” Aisha said. “It’s all about flavor, if you’re an avid cook you know that quality ingredients make all the difference.”

The Spice Rack is open Monday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. and stays open until 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, but is closed on Sundays. It can be reached at 215-274-0100.