Size Matters

October 3, 2012 at 8:50pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Many Lincolnites have clamored for years to get a downtown grocery store. Early reports that at least one proposal for the Pershing Center block includes a grocery store naturally raised a lot of interest. I know I was intrigued.

Then this came along.

According to Deena Winter, the proposed grocery store clocks in at a whopping 5,100 square feet. That’s smaller than the Walgreen’s at 13th and O. There are houses in Wilderness Ridge with pantries larger than that. I questioned Ms. Winter, thinking surely she had made a typo. She assured me the number is accurate according to the submitted proposal.

Whatever boost could have been given to this project by the presence of a grocery store is surely overcome by its insultingly-small size. It’s hard to imagine doing much with a space less than one-fifth the size of University Place’s Heartland Pantry.

That’s not to say the entire proposal is bunk, of course. I’m just very surprised by the grocery store’s size. I didn’t expect a full-blown Super Saver, but something in the Ideal Grocery range (15,000 to 20,000 square feet) seems much more appropriate to me. Then again, I’m not the one putting my money on the line.

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The Comments

meatball October 4, 2012 at 2:06pm

I don’t know, something about the size of the 13th & O Walgreens sounds about right for a downtown grocery store. Heck, the Alps (I think it’s still Alps) on N. 27th is in a former Walgreens. It would be interesting to compare the number of residents within a 1-mile radius of Pershing with the number within a 1-mile radius of Heartland Pantry, or Alps. Most downtown grocery stores in cities I’ve visited aren’t much larger than convenience stores.

Once the arena and associated new housing is complete, I wonder where the downtown grocery epicenter will be? The Pershing site seems a little far east, but I suppose beggars can’t be choosers.

Mr. Wilson October 4, 2012 at 2:35pm

<em>Heck, the Alps (I think it

Mr. T October 4, 2012 at 3:13pm

I agree with Meatball. If they do a grocery store a huge full-size one would be overkill. A smaller one makes sense. A downtown grocery would be ideal for either walkers, or people who need someplace close by to get stuff they forgot to buy at a larger store. I’m a downtown resident and worker and when I go to Russ on 17th and A, I rarely spend more than $10 there. Most of my grocery shopping are done at the full size stores in other parts of town.

Fletch October 4, 2012 at 3:17pm

A small grocery store would be about like Trader Joe’s. That store is enormous compared to 5,100 sf.

The HobbyTown USA store at SouthPointe is probably double that size, and they most likely don’t have a back/storage room.

A grocer needs some office/storage/refrigeration space. Most of the smaller grocers in Lincoln have back rooms larger than 5,100 sf.

This would really be more of a bodega as you’d see on a TV show set in an urban area. Realistically, this is smaller than a Kwik Shop.

Mr. T October 4, 2012 at 5:49pm

I was exactly thinking of TJ’s as a model. There is a small TJ’s near the University of Washington campus in Seattle and that place must make an absolute killing. Its simply packed all the time. Vast majority of shoppers there seem to be students who are walking/biking, or other nearby residents who stop in there to buy 3-5 things at the most.

Anyway, I’m personally more inclined to support the library rehaul in that area instead.

JT October 4, 2012 at 5:56pm

My store DT is about 9000 square feet, and I’m struggling to see how a grocery store roughly half this size would work. They aren’t going to pull the bar/Gameday crowd that many downtown businesses are geared for. Need NYC style foot traffic to make something like that feasible.

Just Thinkin' October 4, 2012 at 7:05pm

With only 5,000 square feet, I am curious what they intend to sell? I don’t think there is going to be enough room for a bakery, refrigerated dairy cases, a refrigerated meat counter, freezers for frozen items, display space and refrigeration for fruits and vegetables and sufficient stock room for perishable items. I suspect they will try to pass a convenience store as a grocery store. Five thousand square feet will give them only enough room for an aisle of beer and liquor, an aisle of snacks, some overpriced household items, a cash register with cigarettes behind the counter and a non-refrigerated stock room.

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