• Jason Sins

Downtown Grocery Store Roulette

At the end of his State of City address Mayor Byron Brown finally dropped some news that Downtown Buffalo residents had been waiting to hear for a long time. He would like a full service grocery store located Downtown so that residents can shop for food without leaving the city. Boy! That has been a long time coming!

As a city resident of Allentown, the West Side, and now North Buffalo, I have always wondered when the city's administration would get with the damn program. Well, it seems that Mayor Brown has gotten his act together and is actively pushing for the store to go in the vacant lot that the city owns and uses for parking at 201 Ellicott Street. The lot is centrally located between Oak Street and Broadway, and would include neighbors such as the Buffalo Public Library, and more importantly the Lafayette Hotel!

With the city's transformation in the recent months, residents are saying that it's about damn time! Currently, the best options afforded to city residents are the Tops on Niagara Street or some Halal markets that pocket the East and West Sides of Buffalo. Wegmans, located on Amherst Street, is probably your best option for all types of organic as well as specialty foods, but it's location near North Buffalo means it has never been a viable downtown option unless you own a car!

What this means is residents who have put roots in the actual Downtown area will finally be able to walk to a grocery store and not be stuck waiting for buses or a cab to get that food home! It's always seemed like the next logical step forward for our city, and now we may finally get our wish.

That leaves us with the question of who will it be? Wegmans, Tops, Whole Foods, Price Rite, and Trader Joe's all seem to be viable options that would probably love a chance to corner the downtown market. Most residents asked have said they would love to see Wegmans down there -- it being the beacon of fresh and quality food as well as organic and specialty items that are generally not found at some of the aforementioned stores. But Wegmans, which opened a store in Chestnut Hill just outside of Boston last year that is half the size of most of its stores, told WGRZ on Friday, "While we are incredibly excited about the growth happening in the city of Buffalo, we have no plans to open a downtown location of Wegmans."

Which leaves me with this: to whomever heads down there, get ready to be busy. City residents have waited for this for a long time, and now that the cat is out of the bag, anything less than what was proposed will be a major disappointment at a time when it seems the city can accomplish almost anything! So in conclusion: get the store done; make it nice; make sure it's selection of food and product is top-notch; or else you may find yourself out of a job, Mayor Brown!So who do you think it should be? Vote in our interactive poll!

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