I'm glad the Square is seeing some overdue revitalization. There really wasn't any good reason to let it die when Beale Street/Downtown "revitalized." Memphis is large enough to support more than one "destination area." If the right businesses locate there - I don't care, frankly, if they're local or not, as long as they're good - it will help the area as a whole. When I moved out of Midtown about 20 yrs. ago, there was a lack of decent retail, restaurants, and grocery options. I found myself going "east" for almost everything including a grocery store with a real selection and decent, reasonably safe parking lot. (and, as a professional musician...all the decent-paying gigs moved east too.) If the Square keeps its upward swing going, that 25 min. drive from Cordova to patronize those businesses will seem much shorter!
Dare I ask...when will it hit Kroger in Cordova?
Interesting that New Orleans is mentioned as a grocery market. There are zero Krogers in New Orleans because enough locals there support old-school family-owned supermarkets, of which there are several: Dorignac's, Zuppardo's, Breaux Mart, to name a few, and when A&P sold off its Sav-A-Centers in N. O. after Katrina, they were bought by Rouse's, a family chain based in Thibodaux LA. Winn-Dixie has been a staple in New Orleans for years, but Albertson's didn't last long there at all. It's down to what consumers support and demand.
The obvious problem is that Kroger has a near-monopoly here now, especially if (like me) you don't consider Wal-Mart and Target to be real grocery stores. They do not, therefore, take customer service particularly seriously, because they don't have to. When Schnucks existed here, I contacted them a few times, concerning products they didn't carry, etc. via e-mail, and I always got an e-mail response (or often a phone call) from somebody in St. Louis, often within the same hour. The answer wasn't always "yes we can" but at least they responded. Gotta say, though, part of the issue is that as a whole Memphians don't demand better grocery stores and show the kind of loyalty that might get a locally-run Stepherson's Super-Lo out here in Cordova (vs. Southaven :( ) I hope, hope, hope, that Publix expands a bit further west into Memphis. Let the competition begin!!
Rouse's was actually a family-run grocery chain based in Thibodaux LA who bought the Sav-A-Centers in metro New Orleans from A & P. In truth when it was Sav-A-Center it still beat the pants off anything in Memphis for "local" products. In New Orleans, though, the consumers demand that "local feel" and access to local products...there are still several family-run grocers with 3 - 4 locations and zero Krogers. Albertson's tried to make in in the N. O. market and were simply run out of town by the local grocers' prices and selections. It can happen in Memphis, people just have to demand it.
I was disappointed when BooYa's closed here near Wolfchase. Authenticity in a restaurant, by the way, should be about the food, not the location. I don't get to Collierville much myself except when work takes me there, nor do I drive all the way there to eat, but there's a point where that "all that's good and "cool" is inside the Parkways" mentality becomes dated and tiring.
I literally shed tears when Schnucks bailed out. Out here in 38016 there really aren't any other choices left, unless you seriously consider Wal-Mart or Target to be full-service grocers. (Super Target does have a better-than-expected selections of condiments, salsas, etc.) I was in the neighborhood so I went to the Mendenhall/Sanderlin store for the first time since the remodel. As a "Fresh Fare" Kroger, it was a lot more pleasant aesthetic shopping experience. Good deli, hot bar, bulk foods, nice-looking update inside. But, for canned/jar goods, what's on the shelves is about the same as their other Memphis stores. Kroger also owns Ralphs out West, so it's not that they don't know how to run a fully-stocked "foodie friendly" store, they just don't bother to in this market. My solemn promise: if Publix, Harris-Teeter, or Stepherson's Super-Lo open up anywhere nearby where it won't cost me too much of my $4.50-per-gallong gas to get to, I would definitely - as Kroger's online survey asks: "switch to another grocer if they moved to my area."
All Comments »
By Leonard Gill
download this issue
click here to see more »