Is Rafal Spice on it's way out? (Detroit)
A year and 1/2 ago Rafal's in Detroit's Eastern Market stopped selling tea. They used to have dozens, including a great one called Monk's blend. Now their web site lists 1/2 dozen herbal teas. That it. I asked the owner about it when they first dropped tea and he said he was looking for a new wholesaler.
Yesterday was the weirdest trip to any retailer I've ever had. I walked into Rafals and immediately noticed their inventory on all shelves was about a 1/4 of what they used to carry. I went to th spice area in the back and the soft spoken guy with a little limp who has helped me for years approached.
I asked for green peppercorns and he said "Sorry, we're sold out". OK--maybe not THAT common an item.
I asked for a pound of chili powder and he said "Sorry, we're sold out"
I asked for 4 oz. of cumin and he said "Sorry we're sold out." WTF!!!
I then asked for a pound of black peppercorns and he said "Sorry, we're sold out."
Now, I'm in a SPICE store and they didn't have the most basic spice on the planet!! I felt like I had just slipped into the Twilight Zone.
At that moment the older guy who usually man's the cash register (I think he may be the owner) came out of the little glassed in area in the back. I held up my shopping list and said I'm striking out on every request. His comment was if I've missed all for shots I'm batting a 1000 and couldn't do any better than that! Again, WTF! He went on to say he may have some spices in by next week. I said I'd check back later and left (I left straight for Penzey's up in Troy)
Is Rafal's on their last legs?? How irresponsible and goofy is this management team??
I had this same experience! I usually only get down to Rafal's two or three times each year, but I remember when they cut back on their tea - especially the Monk's blend! This Saturday we stopped in to get a few things and the place was barren - so strange for a Saturday. I will be terribly sad if they go out of business.