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.
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.
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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.