Our conversation with Vanessa Maggio, co-owner of Gxxd Box in Sacramento.
â¬ Summer – Aesthetic sounds
Imagine doing this long awaited road trip. The bags are in the car, the bikes are in the bike rack, and the GPS is set to your destination. All that’s missing is healthy, roadside snacks. Vanessa Maggio is passionate about vegan snacks and owns Gxxd Box, a herbal convenience store, and she’s got your back. The store is small and mighty – a recycled shipping container soon to be located somewhere in Midtown Sacramento. Maggio works with dispensers to stack the box with herbal products you might recognize at the grocery store: Sunwink wellness tonics, Oatly drinks made with oat milk, pea protein cabbage PeaTos – as well as unique products like Mexican candy that she hopes to source on her frequent trips to Mexico.
The concept began to take shape in 2020 when she and her husband, Jason Maggio, were motivated by the desire to get quick, health-conscious snacks en route to their favorite outdoor excursions. The couple own and operate two other businesses – Official Brand and All Good Store, Sacramento-founded lifestyle brands that outfit Sacramento’s streetwear and outdoor crowd. Each brand has been successful locally and internationally since its creation in 2007 and 2014. With Gxxd Box, the Maggios will enter a different type of taste creation.
The pandemic has caused many people to take a closer look at what they put in their bodies, speeding up the switch to a plant-based diet. With environmental and health concerns at their worst, it’s no longer a surprise to see meatless offerings like Impossible Burgers on the menu of mainstream chains. âI think that’s the (direction) we’re heading in,â says Maggio. âThe Gxxd Box concept is for the health of the environment but also for health and well-being.
Another new consumer habit that we have adopted is contactless. Gxxd Box’s scan-and-checkout process makes it easy to select a snack, scan, pay and get started. âYou’ll feel better about your options and take your kids out to buy some candy,â says Maggio, who has 10 years of retail experience and four children. She is currently experimenting with soft openings and pop-ups until she determines where in Midtown to install the container for a temporary opening in July.
A concept for a modern and healthy lifestyle:
We are fans of vegan and vegetable snacks. When we travel, go on a road trip or hike, we like to find the best snacks and the healthiest snacks because we care about our health. And even if we indulge in other things, if they are herbal, we feel better.
Good Vibes, Better Customer Experience, and Convenience for Herbal People: (Even if it’s scan-and-go) there will always be an associate (in the store). They will be able to engage with customers and talk about the products rather than worrying about calling them. We want to make the convenience store a better experience.
You don’t have to worry about looking at a label and making sure there is no dairy product. It’s something plant-based or vegans have to do – watch and be like, oh my gosh, why does that potato crisps have any dairy in it? So you won’t have to. We did all the dirty work. Everything here is plant-friendly, and you don’t have to worry about it.
Goodies that you can soon unbox at Gxxd Box: I spent time during the pandemic researching all the plant-based vegan candy, gum, crisps, soda, ice cream, and bars. I also like to research when we’re in different cities and try to bring (the things we find there) to Gxxd Box as well. We go to Mexico a lot and want to incorporate some authentic Mexican sweets that are vegan friendly.
Beyond the package: The next phase will be to engage with our local restaurants, bakeries and cafes to offer fresh and ready local and vegan options. So if you want to have Babe’s Donuts, for example, on a Sunday, we will make them. Or breakfast burritos, something like that.
Service is in my blood: I also work at the All Good store. I like working in the store with my clients. All of us, the whole family, we all work on it. I have a special bond with clients and I like to build a relationship. It is an advantage and an advantage. (My approach is) a little more personal, I think. I don’t know if I’m talking too much or what it is, but I like to engage with my clients and don’t even ask them to buy anything. And then we have a sale coming out of it. It’s one thing that I don’t think I will stop doing one day, hopefully, is being able to work with clients.
Stimulate enthusiasm through social media and in real life in our sister companies: Starting with our social media (we want to integrate them) into our ecosystem once they have made their purchases in our store. I think Gxxd Box has a good answer (on social media). And people come into the store (All Good) and talk about it. Even if you’re not vegan or plant-based, or like healthier options, or just like snacks, you’re going to find something.
Build partnerships with large and small brands: We’d love to meet people there and do some tasting challenges or bring in Revive (Kombucha) and do a little pop-up. We’ve established a relationship with Stumptown (Coffee Roasters) and Oatly, so we’re going to take them there and they would love to come and support us. Better Booch (the Los Angeles-based kombucha brewery), too. People are so excited to come and support and learn from events.
I also have people who come to my All Good store saying it’s such a great concept. I make gluten-free, vegan, and plant-based baked goods. And I tell myself that I would love to present them and have them come. Because I know that for them (it can be) so difficult to start selling some of their products. If we can figure this out and if it can happen, I want to offer their products or help them be a pop-up next to us.
A gxxd package: We’re in limbo trying to figure out where we’re going to drop the container. We start with the container. If it works, we would like to make a brick and mortar and take the Gxxd Box container and drop it somewhere else and test it there. We would like more than one in Sacramento and continue to build from there.
Read to motivate yourself: I love “Atomic Habits” (by James Clear). I like to be structured and to have my ritual morning. So get up at 5 am, do my meditation, then my workout. And then I can start breakfast and all that. I think having those mornings, when you have kids and a business to run, is so important in making sure you have time for yourself.
Mix location: We have a home office and I have an office in the store (All Good), and we have an office where my husband and oldest work at 3400 Broadway. When the children are in school, distance learning, then my office is either our office or in the kitchen. I can mix it up.
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