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Old 11-01-2014, 12:31 PM
 
10 posts, read 3,501 times
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I know that this subject has probably been discussed quite a bit on these pages through the years. The argument is that with Downtown population growing, the need for a larger grocery Downtown increases. I will say that although improvements do need to be made in this area, a full blown grocer in the Golden Triangle is not a necessity. What is needed is maybe a few smaller grocers with fresh meats, a deli, and fresh produce along with other staples and canned goods.
In March 2008, Rosebud Market and Deli opened with a lot of fanfare in the Encore at 7th Street and Fort Duquesne Blvd. In two years the store went belly up. This is not to suggest that is an indication of the Downtown Market for such a store. The location was not good, the selection was overpriced and mediocre, and the owner, Robin Fernandez, had expertise in the nightclub industry but none in the grocery business, which is a cut throat industry. I give him credit for trying to fill a niche. Downtown has grown a bit in population since 2008. A larger version of such a store as Rosebud in a better location and a better game plan can work Downtown. Such a store will open in January 2015 in Market Square. It will be called the Market Street Grocery, located in the Thompson Building. They will have a deli, prepared food, produce, even wine. They may do well give the amount of foot traffic and the critical mass of that location. Until that opens, many staple such as bread, butter, milk, cereal, canned goods etc. can be found at the countless drug stores Downtown. One will not starve if they choose not to eat out or can't make it to the Strip or the Giant Eagle on Cedar Avenue.
Granted, it would be nice to have a Joe the Butcher Downtown to get some fresh pork chops or chicken breast. However, many neighborhoods in Pittsburgh no longer have their butcher shops or corner markets anymore and have to go to Giant Eagle. Downtown is another neighborhood. In a nutshell, yes we could use some place Downtown to maybe get some prepared foods like Rotisserie chicken, stuffed cabbage or Lasagna, along with some salami and provolone. But the desire for a full service grocery Downtown is overrated since even in the most dense Pittsburgh neighborhoods like Lawrenceville and South Side, the residents generally get in their cars to do larger grocery shopping. That would be akin to a Downtown dweller making the short drive to several larger grocery shopping options.
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Old 11-01-2014, 01:04 PM
 
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I would like to see how much a grocery store can pay for rent compared to downtown rents. We have a few smaller markets in the south hills like Heisler's Market | a specialty grocery store and cafe dedicated to freshness and well-being that thrive. I know grocery stores profit per square is low on top of the higher shrinkage costs of being downtown.
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Old 11-01-2014, 04:25 PM
gg
 
Location: Pittsburgh
11,530 posts, read 7,759,107 times
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I think it will need one at some point, but it is still a little early. Most folks probably go to the Strip for groceries and TJ's or Whole Foods now and again. I think it will come at some point.
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Old 11-01-2014, 05:57 PM
 
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GE is supposedly still deciding on a location on the ground floor of the "Saks" Garage/Apartment Dev. I actually like a Gorcery Store in this area of town, it's very a central location and easily reached from all parts of Downtown.
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Old 11-01-2014, 06:58 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
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I can't see a full service grocery in town being very likely.

The rent in town, the fact that it would likely be pedestrian only, most people who live in town are still like to shoot out to Giant Eagle on the North Side for large orders of staples or maybe head over to Wholey's or the Hill District Shop n Save.
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Old 11-03-2014, 12:13 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
737 posts, read 407,432 times
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I have worked Downtown for years and there have been multiple times where I wish I could walk to a grocery store before leaving work and pick stuff up for my office or for that night's dinner at home without battling and pulling my hair out at a suburban grocery store. I try to avoid going to Rite Aid Downtown for food because the prices are ridiculous.

I think a slimmed down and focused Giant Eagle in Downtown would do good and they have pricing power to make their prices lower than the food at the drug/convenience stores.
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Old 11-03-2014, 03:48 PM
 
Location: city of pittsburgh
1,191 posts, read 799,687 times
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Come on, people! Just get some exercise and take what is not that bad a walk up to the Shop N Save - it was all paid for by taxpayers, so take advantage of it and support it! Giant Eagle is better, though, but the Shop N Save may be better than an overpriced bodega typical of dense urban centers.

It's never crowded - ever. There is no self-checkout, unfortunately.
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Old 11-04-2014, 06:42 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
4,526 posts, read 2,962,815 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmantz65 View Post

I think a slimmed down and focused Giant Eagle in Downtown would do good and they have pricing power to make their prices lower than the food at the drug/convenience stores.


Rite Aid and CVS are a lot larger corporations than Giant Eagle is, they have just as much "pricing power" as does Giant Eagle.


The problem is purchasing the large orders in a downtown, pedestrian only, store. Just becomes impractical for a lot of people, without a car to tote the stuff away. All of the small orders are more expensive to process for the store. Further, the real estate's a lot higher in town, they have to generate more sales per square foot to make it worthwhile for them.

I could see Giant Eagle putting a Crossroads or Get Go in town, where they charge higher prices, but not a Giant Eagle.
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Old 11-04-2014, 07:36 AM
 
Location: In a valley in the South Hills
4,014 posts, read 1,883,517 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmantz65 View Post
I have worked Downtown for years and there have been multiple times where I wish I could walk to a grocery store before leaving work and pick stuff up for my office or for that night's dinner at home without battling and pulling my hair out at a suburban grocery store. I try to avoid going to Rite Aid Downtown for food because the prices are ridiculous.

I think a slimmed down and focused Giant Eagle in Downtown would do good and they have pricing power to make their prices lower than the food at the drug/convenience stores.
We have a Giant Eagle Express nearby us. Prices for many things are higher than Market District. There are no sale priced items. And 1/4 of the store is beer. Certainly it's a better option than CVS/RiteAid/Walgreens, which stock little of solid nutritional value nor anything fresh, but a small GE probably isn't the best answer either.

Strategically, it might have been a good idea to locate the Pittsburgh Public Market in the triangle. The new location up on Penn & 25th is not the draw it was while on Smallman. Having it downtown might've presented an opportunity to grow the PPM into a smaller version of Reading Market or Chelsea Market.

Having spent significant time in NYC/Boston/DC, most greengrocers aren't the rip-off some claim. And I usually think of Gristede's (which I think is now owned by Shop-Rite) as the prime example of a successful operator of compact grocery stores. They've been around 140 years or so. I also used to frequent an TJs in Alexandria that was 1st floor of an office building and had underground parking (free if you presented your receipt at the gate).
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Old 11-04-2014, 08:55 AM
 
404 posts, read 185,140 times
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I would think something like a Trader Joe's would be perfect for downtown - they could draw residents from the surrounding neighborhoods, office workers, and the downtown residents and pedestrians. A typical grocery store like Giant Eagle wouldn't draw many residents from surrounding neighborhoods.

Any store would probably need to have parking validation in a connected garage though, and that seems like something the city could help facilitate.
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