Wednesday, January 7, 2009
The Red Apple is no more
After two or three weeks of daily walks to collect groceries, gossip and a little break from our snowbound existence we saw that our beloved Red Apple grocery store is up for sale. Everything 25 percent off. Business is booming.
So what will things look like a year from now? Newport Hills has sustained not one but two boxy grocery stores in its center for decades. Right across the street from each other. The original Albertsons became Stod's Batting Cages, and the Red Apple has shrunk in square footage, repurposing itself over the years. It used to have more foot traffic, a more diverse identity: featuring video rentals, popcorn and a US Post office. Now it still serves a function for gathering--the deli was remodeled to accomodate seating. It's where I always knew I could find my house contractor on his lunch break.
Part of this is sentimentality: my children entered the coloring contests at Christmas and Halloween all their lives. This is where mothers oversaw their daughters sale of Girl Scout cookies, and dads wandered the parking lot with their sons at the annual Classic Cars show. I never actually witnessed it myself, but I'm sure the semi-annual lobster drop was something.
I'll have to find my CAP (Consumer Advantage Pricing) elsewhere. My husband will especially miss those cryptic messages displayed in the parking lot entrance:
chk brst 4.99
grnd rnd 3.99
Yesterday at Whole Foods an ex-Apple checker looked for a dry cart for me, after a hurried walk across the parking lot in driving rain. He still doesn't recognize me, after ten years! That gave me pause. I realize I have some mixed emotion, and perhaps a little cautious optimism for the future of our neighborhood's center.
So the future: will a smaller grocery store come in? Will it sit empty and abandoned for a year or two? Is there a developer out there who may be interested? Maybe not now, but after the economy picks up? What works in this kind of demographic? Do we have any say at all in the process which is probably dominated by men in suits who live in California?
I plan to watch and learn.