Our first two visits to The Market were less than eventful and perhaps my initial review of the new Fremont Street shop was more than necessarily scathing- I was just calling it as I see it.
Our Sunday morning walk brought us back to The Market for a follow up, as it did not appear that they were completely ready on our first encounters. This morning we are pleasantly surprised. The limited selections of ales and ciders previously on display have been flushed out and varied. There are prices now on display where many were previously lacking, allowing the consumer to comparison shop (for value).
The coffee bar was open, serving Stumptown Coffee (although a printed sign still declared “Coming Soon”), however we are not in the mood for coffee on this particular Sunday morning, if you catch my drift.
Which leads me to our biggest surprise of the morning, much of the booze is competitively priced. I would have bet my left leg that a place such as this, not unlike a Whole Foods or similar, would have their six-packs priced above market average. Here today, we stand stunned to discover that the hopped cider we were eyeballing the other day is a mere $6.00 American. Wait no longer, throw that puppy in the bag.
We are also in need of dish soap and sponges this morning, so we meander over to that aisle and deduce a reasonable brand of organic, zero-waste, environmentally sound, almond scented dish soap and a 3 pack of equally environmentally correct sponges. $3.69 and $3.19 respectively. Not a steal but not the end of the world by any stretch of the imagination either.
On our first visit to The Market, we were 20 minutes early for the ribbon-cutting and learned from a nearby “Ranger” that the store would actually be open to the public thirty minutes after
that. We decided to skip the hoopla and return the following morning, which we did.
Wouldn’t you know it, one of our friendly neighborhood friends sees us shopping, gives us a holler and we spend the next 10 or so minutes catching up and chewing the fat.
On our third visit, Sunday morning, before we can even reach the rear of the store, we see a friend and contemporary of ours taking everything in for the first time. A very similar, friendly back and forth ensues and we spend the next several minutes surveying the aisles, hashing about the store, what they have, what they don’t have, etc.,
At the end of the day, still a lot of mixed feelings. There are plenty of reasons for me to shop here from time to time. Still, so much of the store is redundant and priced far out of the realm of reasonable. Juice, for example. There seems to be some kind of organic juice on nearly every aisle. What gives?
Grab and go salads and hummus trays are there for your no-brainer, low cal lunches. Most of them are labeled Mediterranean and many feature a dish called “guacahummus”, although I could not find any dishes with falafel. I am going to go ahead and assume that “guacahummus” is precisely what it sounds like- a combination of guacamole and hummus? I am guessing that it must be pretty good because it is also mighty plentiful around the store.
Another comfortable amenity to The Market are there two, clean, unisex restrooms easily accessible for the public. Not an amazing advancement or anything but I am sure you have been to grocery stores and discovered their toilets under lock and key or hidden down some mysterious hallway. I know I have.
For whatever it’s worth, an empty bladder makes for a more comfortable and leisurely shopping experience. If only record stores could learn to adapt these practices.
So here is the jist. Our friend Josh suggests that the deli and coffee portion of the store is much more useful than the grocery half. An astute observation that I cannot exactly deny, except he does not actually live anywhere near here. My approach would be something more like, I can grab some odds and ends now when I am in this neck of the woods. It does not solve the downtown grocery epidemic, but it is really great to have something of this kind as an option, especially on this block.
Honestly, I stayed at the El Cortez a few times back in 2009 and the lack of these services nearby was very apparent. I still contend that a much more practical location could have been sought for this market, but I will admit that it does do a world of good for the neighborhood.
It’s really quite funny to be standing on the sidewalk there on Fremont Street looking up and down at all the sites, with groceries in tote, waxing on about nothing with a friend you had no expectations of bumping into on such a morning. It’s really quite fun also.