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Readers Want A Trader Joe’s in the City

December 17, 2014 Featured, Retail 13 Comments

On Sunday, as this poll was ongoing, I was shopping at Trader Joe’s — the store I most want to open a location within the City of St. Louis.  TJ’s was the top answer in the poll, followed by Apple Store and Costco.

Interior of the recently expanded Trader Joe's in Brentwood.
Interior of the recently expanded Trader Joe’s in Brentwood.

The results:

Q: Which retail stores, if any, in our region would you like to see open a location in the City of St. Louis? (pick up to 5)

  1. Trader Joe’s 30 [16.57%]
  2. TIE
    1. Apple Store 19 [10.5%]
    2. Costco 19 [10.5%]
  3. Lucky’s Market 10 [5.52%]
  4. Dierbergs 9 [4.97%]
  5. TIE
    1. Crate & Barrell 7 [3.87%]
    2. Macy’s 7 [3.87%]
    3. Marshalls 7 [3.87%]
  6. TIE
    1. Old Navy 6 [3.31%]
    2. Walmart 6 [3.31%]
    3. Other: 6 3.31% [3.31%]
      1.  Target
      2. Rural King
      3. Microsoft Store
      4. Walgreens
      5. Target (downtown)
      6. Dollar General
  7. TIE
    1. Best Buy 5 [2.76%]
    2. Cost Plus World Market 5 [2.76%]
    3. Nordstrom 5 [2.76%]
  8. TIE
    1. Sears 4 [2.21%]
    2. T.J. Maxx 4 [2.21%]
    3. Williams-Sonoma 4 [2.21%]
  9. TIE
    1. Cabela’s 3 [1.66%]
    2. Home Goods 3 [1.66%]
    3. Pottery Barn 3 [1.66%]
    4. Pier 1 Imports 3 [1.66%]
    5. Sam’s 3 [1.66%]
    6. None 3 [1.66%]
  10. TIE
    1. Dillard’s 2 [1.1%]
    2. h.h. gregg 2 [1.1%]
    3. Kitchen Conservatory 2 [1.1%]
  11. TIE
    1. Menards 1 [0.55%]
    2. Ross 1 [0.55%]
    3. Sur La Table 1 [0.55%]
    4. Tuesday morning 1 [0.55%]
  12. American Girl 0 [0%]

I suspected Trader Joe’s would be the top answer, especially considering the reation to my last April Fool’s Joke (see Mixed-Use Building with a Trader Joe’s Coming to Grand & Lindell Corner). Seriously, we need a Trader Joe’s in the city, going out to the suburbs is just to inconvenient.

In the other there were two suggestions for a Target, presumably both downtown. I concur, an urban Target downtown would be great — much better than a traditional department store. Not sure why someone listed Dollar General, there are two within the city.

— Steve Patterson

 

Business Coming To West Florissant

December 5, 2014 Featured, Retail Comments Off on Business Coming To West Florissant

West Florissant Ave in St. Louis or its suburbs isn’t the most prosperous of commercial streets, still I see local entrepreneurs earning a living, providing needed products & services, and employing others.

For a few months now I’ve seen a vacant building as I pass by on the bus or drive by. The other day I noticed something new.

The building at 7365 W Florissant in Jennings will become a Hawaiian Grill
The building at 7365 W Florissant in Jennings will become a Hawaiian Grill, click for map

A “Coming Soon” sign was added. This is very encouraging to see, especially just a mile from the Ferguson city limits. Being next door to a popular Velvet Freeze is probably a wise business decision.

I wish them well.

— Steve Patterson

 

A Look At Property Damage On West Florissant

Following the late evening announcement on Monday November 24, 2014 of the grand jury’s decision to not indict former officer Darren Wilson, we saw destruction far worse than we had in August. After the QT was torched on the night of Sunday August 10th I began the process of photographing every building along W. Florissant starting at the railroad tracks in Jennings to Pershall Rd next to I-270.  I recently returned to photograph the recent damage, allowing me to show you before & after photos.

We’ll start on the south end and work our way north.

Ferguson:

9163 W. Florissant, just north of McDonald's, in August
9163 W. Florissant, just north of McDonald’s, in August. Click image to view map.
The front now
November 28th
The building was very deep
The building was very deep
Side-facing storefronts now
Side-facing storefronts now
HealSTL was located in the last space
HealSTL was located in the last space
And now
And now
Sam's Meat Market 9241 W Florissant
Sam’s Meat Market 9241 W Florissant on August 11th
August 16th
August 16th
November 28th
November 28th
Public Storage at 9291 W. Florissant in August
Public Storage office at 9291 W. Florissant in August
November 28th
November 28th

Dellwood:

Hunan Chop Suey at 9806 W. Florissant on August 18th
Hunan Chop Suey at 9806 W. Florissant on August 18th
November 28th
November 28th
Title Max at 9814 W Florissant in August
Title Max at 9814 W Florissant in August
November 28th
November 28th
The Fashion R Boutique at 9844 W. Florissant in August
The Fashion R Boutique at 9844 W. Florissant in August
November 28th
November 28th
O'Reily Auto Parts on August 19th
O’Reily Auto Parts on August 19th
November 28th
November 28th
The Autozone at 10am on August 11th, the morning after the QT was burned
The AutoZone at 10am on August 11th, the morning after the QT was burned. Windows were broken here.
The AutoZone at 9947 W. Florissant in Dellwood was one of many businesses burned following the grand jury decision.   Photo date: August 19, 2014
More than a week later, on August 19th, the broken windows are boarded.
The same AutoZone on Friday November 28th
The same AutoZone on Friday November 28th
Prime Beauty Supply at 1475 Chambers at W. Florissant
Prime Beauty Supply at 1475 Chambers at W. Florissant in August
On November 20th they had boarded their windows
On November 20th they had boarded their windows
A week later
A week later
AutoBuyCredit at 10250 W. Florissant in August
AutoBuyCredit at 10250 W. Florissant in August
Their car lot in August
Their car lot in August
A total of 16 cars were destroyed in November
A total of 16 cars were destroyed in November
I don't seem to have a good before of the Conoco station at 10280 W. Florissant, just north of the car lot.
I don’t seem to have a good before of the Conoco station at 10280 W. Florissant, just north of the car lot.

Much more damage in Dellwood. I doubt all will be rebuilt. The adjacent residential housing is nice, but it may not stay that way if the commercial district doesn’t come back.

— Steve Patterson

 

Ever Changing Grocery Market

November 24, 2014 Featured, Retail 7 Comments

The grocery industry, like many industries, continues to evolve. In the UK, for example, analysts are suggesting one out of five stores need to close to grow profits.  Closer to home, Whole Foods is building a new store in one of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods:

That proposition entails unusually high stakes for a supermarket. Whole Foods is gambling that it can tailor its high-priced brand to a low-income market. It’s gambling that it can create customers out of people who out of necessity have long shopped at corner stores and Save-A-Lot. It’s gambling that it may even change what some of them eat. (Washington Post

This year we saw the opening of Fields Foods south of downtown, the closure of a Schnuck’s on North Grand and a new chain, Lucky’s Market in a former Straub’s in Ellisville. Never heard of Lucky’s? It started expanding outside of Boulder CO in January 2013:

Lucky’s founder Bo Sharon has partnered with industry veterans — including former executives of Wild Oats and Sunflower Farmers Markets — to launch Lucky’s Farmers Market, a chain of full-service grocery stores that offer a mix of mainstream, natural, organic and locally grown foods. 

Lucky’s Farmers Market officials quietly launched a website touting their intentions to open stores in the “Heartland of America,” including in Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. (Source)

This month I’ve shopped at both of the open Lucky’s Markets in Missouri: Columbia & Ellisville. A friend told me they were a cross between Trader Joe’s & Whole Foods, but I think they’re closer to a less expensive Whole Foods, with very little in common with Trader Joe’s. Unlike Trader Joe’s, Lucky’s Market is a full service grocery store with butchers, deli, salad bar, sushi bar, and hot prepared foods.

Local chain Straub’s wasn’t open long at this location:

Less than a year after opening, Straub’s in Ellisville plans to close, leaving 50 workers without jobs.

The Straub’s store at 15830 Fountain Plaza Drive, which opened Dec. 3, 2008, will close Oct. 31, Trip Straub, vice president of Straub’s Markets, said Tuesday. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Staub’s still has four long-time locations: Town & Country (1966), Webster Groves, Clayton (1933), and the city’s Central West End neighborhood (1948). Next year a new Whole Foods will open in the CWE, just a few blocks from Straub’s.

The deli and bakery in the Columbia MO Lucky's Market
The deli and bakery in the Columbia MO Lucky’s Market
Overview of the Lucky's Market in the St. Louis suburb of Ellisville
Overview of the Lucky’s Market in the St. Louis suburb of Ellisville
The 2nd St. Louis area Lucky's Market will be in Rock Hill
The 2nd St. Louis area Lucky’s Market will be in the Market at McKnight shopping center in Rock Hill
Whole Foods will occupy the ground floor of City Walk at Euclid & Pine
Whole Foods will occupy the ground floor of City Walk at Euclid & Pine
Fields Foods, November 22, 2014
Fields Foods, November 22, 2014

I think Lucky’s Market has the mix of products that Fields Foods is going for, but on a larger scale. Hopefully the locally-owned Fields Foods will scale up in the future so their prices can come down. I look forward to the opening of the new Whole Foods in the CWE but I also want a Trader Joe’s and a Lucky’s Market in the city.

— Steve Patterson

 

Repurposing Gas Stations As Restaurants

The other day, while waiting at a red light, I noticed a business had opened in an old filling station at Eichelberger & S. Kingshighway. The ice cream shop is called The Filling Station.

The Filling Station opened in 2013, click image to see entry on Yelp.
The Filling Station opened in 2013, click image to see entry on Yelp.

I haven’t patronized the business so I can’t speak to the food or service. However, I can say I love the building and its use as a restaurant. Before the light turned green I was thinking about the lunch my husband and I had in Kansas City, at a place I thought was a former gas station.

Joe's Kansas City, formerly Oklahoma Joe's, is among the most popular BBQ restaurants in Kansas City.
Joe’s Kansas City, formerly Oklahoma Joe’s, is among the most popular BBQ restaurants in Kansas City, thankfully we arrived before the line was out the door.
Inside the former service bays
Inside the former service bays
It was after we ate that I realized this was still a functional gas station!
It was after we ate that I realized this was still a functional gas station!

A hugely popular restaurant operating out of a current gas station? Here’s part of their story:

Later that year [1996], experience and commitment intersected with opportunity and serendipity at the corner of 47th Avenue and Mission Road in Kansas City, Kansas, where the owner of a little neighborhood gas station and convenience store, not far from the Stehneys’ house, closed the little fried chicken counter he had been operating inside the store. “It seemed like a pretty good place for a barbecue joint,” Jeff says. “Inside a gas station. Plus there was a liquor store next door, in the same building, which was kind of cool. But the main thing was that it was close to home. I knew we’d be putting in some long hours, and being close to home would be a really good thing. We put together a proposal, made an offer, and all of a sudden we were not only in the barbecue business, but also in the gas station business.” (Joe’s KC)

As a vegetarian I don’t visit BBQ places, but I’d read about their portobello sandwich: The Portobello Z-Man Sandwich $7.39 (smoked portobella, smoked provolone cheese, topped with two crispy onion rings, on a toasted Kaiser roll).

The operating gas station in KC doesn’t have the architectural charm of the older & smaller building in south St. Louis, but the idea is great. What a great way for someone wanting to get into the restaurant business — opening up inside an existing gas station. I’m curious how many gas stations we have in the region that have lunch counters inside. If you’ve got a great product, you could do well.

Have a great weekend, see you at 8am Sunday for a one day poll (8am-8pm).

— Steve Patterson

 

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