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cityboi

Downtown Grocery Stores

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I think there are enough homes in a 2 to 3 mile radius of downtown Greensboro to support one. I dont understand why grocery stores are so common everywhere else in the city yet it seems to be an almost impossible feat to have one downtown. Even the lowest income neighborhoods have at least a Food Lion so whats the hold up? Greensboro can build a 17-story luxury condo tower downtown with some units that sale as high as $3 million yet we cant build a simple grocery store downtown? Whats wrong with this logic? I think the building that fronts MLK Jr Dr at the corner of South Elm Street would make a great grocery store. My mother said years ago in the 1950s and 60s it use to be a grocery store. Downtown doesnt have to have a big supermarket like Harris Teeter in Friendly Shopping Center but it should carry brands that you would find in a major chain store. One good fit for downtown may be an Aldi store. They are usually built in mixed income markets. The downtown area at least in Greensboro is a mixed income market. And Aldi has been opening up downtown stores in other states. Another alternative for Greensboro is having "The Fresh Market" downtown. Its a locally based chain that has grocery stores in several states and since they are local, they might have the desire to do something interesting here.

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That storefront on MLK was an A&P and is now part of the office furniture store on Elm, but I don't think the owner is in any hurry to get rid of it. I agree that a proper grocer would be nice, but I just don't see it in the cards anytime soon. There is a decent population within a few miles of downtown, but there's already supermarkets within two miles of the center city in all four directions. Most people who reside downtown are either young professionals or empty nesters, so there's not as much going to the store to stock up on Cheerios & juice boxes, and unfortunately we don't appear to have the downtown population to make profitable a store that carries fresh meats/fruits/other perishables. Like most American cities whose downtown grocery & department stores were taken away by suburban flight, we'll likely have to make due with mini-market & convenience store offerings until core population increases. I think our best bet would be a small scale suburban style (i.e. easy parking) store on the outskirts of downtown. I'd heard talk of such stores as part of the South Elm St redevelopment, as well as that recently cleared plot of land off Battleground just west of Hill back in the Bellemeade Village days.

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I don't know if Gso will see a DT grocer until DT Raleigh gets one first (I'm talking about in the vein of the 20k HT that DT CLT has right now)

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Working in the grocery industry, I can tell you that downtown populations in most of the Carolina's are not going to support a grocery store of more than a 'glorified' convenience store or 'boutique' grocer.

Raleigh had an attempt at one, Capital City Grocery off Peace Ave, which just folded after a fitful 2 year experiment. This location was poor, the downturn in condo construction and the economy hurt it, plus mis-management. Also, there were major grocers fairly close to this area of downtown.

Greensboro, as alive as it is becoming, could probably support a 'boutique' grocer, but it would be tough.

Winston-Salem has the Kingz Grocery, but it is nothing more than a 'glorified' convenience store which does a poor job of catering to the clientele who actually live downtown.

People who live downtown are more apt, as it has been said, to eat out or to do less cooking. Let's also not forget, rents are usually higher downtown than in strip malls. Grocers are already in one of the leanest profit industries out there, so any retailer who opened in one of NC's downtowns would have to be prepared to loose money for 3-5 years before turning a profit, with major losses the first 2 years.

I still think you're going to have to see 5 years of uninterrupted population growth downtown before a major grocer will chance it, and with this economy I wouldn't bet on it.

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Working in the grocery industry, I can tell you that downtown populations in most of the Carolina's are not going to support a grocery store of more than a 'glorified' convenience store or 'boutique' grocer.

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This problem may be more endemic specifically to the downtowns of the major NC cities. Downtown Charleston has had a Harris Teeter, housed in a converted train station built in 1914, for several years now. The Confederate Printing Plant in downtown Columbia, built in 1864, has been home to a Publix grocery store for a little over four years now. Downtown Greenville got a downtown Publix in August 2007. All of these are full-service grocery stores.

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And downtown Columbia has had a Food Lion in Five Points for decades. They upgraded a few years back.

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Most of these downtown grocers in SC are just your average grocery store in a strip mall, on wide, arterial highways, that happen to be on the fringe of downtown.

I don't think that chain grocers are reluctant to locate stores near downtown. They are reluctant to locate stores in anything other than a strip mall with bunches of parking out front. Nowadays, most cities with modern zoning codes would not allow a new strip mall to be built that close to downtown, but if there is an existing strip mall that's grandfathered in, with a retail space of say 25,000 square feet or more, that can be updated to look modern without triggering zoning compliance, and no other stores from the same chain nearby, any grocer could be convinced to locate "downtown."

The problem is getting them to locate in the core of downtown. Harris Teeter has done this as a part of a mixed-use development in Charlotte. I view this as more of an experiment than anything. The company built the store there to "figure out" how to operate a downtown grocery store, and probably weren't concerned with short term profitability. I think I heard that the downtown Charlotte store did not turn a profit right away; not even sure if it's in the black now. Anyway - I don't expect to see much more than experimentation anywhere in NC any time soon. The paradigm of driving to the grocery store in a strip mall and buying groceries for a week all at once is too firmly entrenched in the American psyche.

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Most of these downtown grocers in SC are just your average grocery store in a strip mall, on wide, arterial highways, that happen to be on the fringe of downtown.

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I think Charleston's is a special case because they have other things you find there that you won't find in any of the other carolina downtowns (i.e. a Saks Fifth avenue), and the way the city is designed... they have a higher residential area in their downtown, like Savannah does too- which has a Kroger.

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I still think Aldi is a nice nich Grocery store for downtown. It has more of a neighborhood feel. All Aldi's close on Sundays which happens to be the sluggish day of the week for downtown Greensboro so that wouldnt affect sales at an Aldi downtown location.

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Most of these downtown grocers in SC are just your average grocery store in a strip mall, on wide, arterial highways, that happen to be on the fringe of downtown.

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I still think Aldi is a nice nich Grocery store for downtown. It has more of a neighborhood feel. All Aldi's close on Sundays which happens to be the sluggish day of the week for downtown Greensboro so that wouldnt affect sales at an Aldi downtown location.

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Aldi has been opening up stores in some downtowns. Aldi would do fine because the downtown area really is a mixed-income area. Aldi tends to open stores in mixed-income areas. True Aldi is no Harris Teeter but I think they are adequate for the downtown market because their stores are the right scale for downtown.

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Aldi has been opening up stores in some downtowns. Aldi would do fine because the downtown area really is a mixed-income area. Aldi tends to open stores in mixed-income areas. True Aldi is no Harris Teeter but I think they are adequate for the downtown market because their stores are the right scale for downtown.

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Trader Joe's needs to come to the Triad, especially if they're coming to the Upstate which is a smaller market

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They are spreading the word, that's a good thing! :thumbsup:

I agree with CityBoi, Aldi would be perfect. Low prices for the low income shopper and high quality European products (their chocolate is awesome! :shades: ) for the high-end shopper.

It looks like The Greensboro Telegram (yeah i've never heard of them either) borrowed (stole) our thoughts and ideas on a downtown grocery store and then Re-worded it into an article...

Link: http://www.greensboro3.com/default.asp?sou...ro3&he=.com

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Thats one thing this forum does is generate ideas for community leaders and developers. You'd be surprised how many city leaders, people from local media and developers view and post on Urban Planet.

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Here is a coincidence. 99 Block magazine is reporting that a couple is planning to open a small grocery store in downtown Greensboro by 2010 (not a conveinence store). The store could be between 6,000 and 10,000 square feet and would have fruits, vegitables as well is food products you'd get in the big chains. I think a grocery store this size is a great fit for downtown Greensboro.

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Here is a coincidence. 99 Block magazine is reporting that a couple is planning to open a small grocery store in downtown Greensboro by 2010 (not a conveinence store). The store could be between 6,000 and 10,000 square feet and would have fruits, vegitables as well is food products you'd get in the big chains. I think a grocery store this size is a great fit for downtown Greensboro.

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Could it possibly the same coupled mentioned in this N&R article? They just purchased the Bestway on Walker Ave. and are renovating.

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