The signs for Oakville Grocery are up at Phoenix's CityScape development, and according to the PR machine the store is "in its final phases of construction and design." The California-based gourmet market shuttered the doors of its Scottsdale Quarter location this past January after a little over a year in the space. The new branch will carry many of the same products, with a focus on locally farmed dairy and meats, imported gourmet foods, and grab-and-go pizzas and salads made by an in-house chef. They're currently seeking community growers for their locavore lineup.
Oakville has the potential to boost CityScape's visibility with locals. The idea of having a grocery store in downtown Phoenix is pretty appealing. If you work downtown like us, you could grab a few essentials on lunch break, or swing by after five and finish your weekly shopping without having to trek out to the suburban supermarkets and play parking lot tiddlywinks.
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But is CityScape the best place to open? A few months ago, we questioned their ability to sustain without a ton of advertising -- and our concerns still remain.
Until Sam Fox's Arrogant Butcher joined the urban development in February, CityScape was devoid of a real dining destination. There are a few token fast-food joints, and Aaron May's tiny Vitamin T taco shop, but it's not exactly a draw for gourmet foodies. The complex also houses Lucky Strike Lanes, which has potential as a nightlife destination but is still relatively unknown, and an Urban Outfitters that has thus far failed to draw the young, loft-dwelling urbanites it usually attracts.
With the mass summer exodus fast approaching, now seems like a strange time to open a store that relies heavily on local traffic. Perhaps Oakville's wine and beer selection will be enough to draw the remaining desert dwellers out of our air-conditioned havens; but if Oakville sinks like an anchor, we could end up with another multi-million dollar eyesore dominating the landscape.