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Marx Foods founder Justin Marx in his retail store. I miss that hot sauce selection already.

Image: Kyle Johnson

Justin Marx has built a national reputation as restaurants' go-to source for the culinarily uncommon. Here in Seattle we've been lucky enough to have the lone retail outpost of Marx Foods, a room whose small size belies the endless stores of local mustard, Italian colatura fish sauce, and heirloom beans not to mention the cooler of microgreens and kimchi. So it's beyond disappointing that Marx will close its Lower Queen Anne store after December 31.

But—I get it. The location is tough for parking and for foot and transit traffic. And while the store is small, online and wholesale business is booming. Marx says he'll be devoting all his energy (and his physical space) to managing those two aspects of the business. The location at 144 Western Ave W will still offer in-person pickup for online orders, so locals don't have to pay for shipping.

Marx Foods will still run its monthly tasting panels, from which a scant amount of items—maybe three out of 75—are deemed worthy of stocking. The company is a particular champion of Washington-made pantry products; hopefully I can glean as much info about cool newcomers from the website as I did the shelf tags (not to mention the awesome staff).

Here's the official announcement, complete with details on some upcoming sales. Stocking stuffers abound.

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