Local News

Raleigh downtowners long for supermarket in heart of city

Posted March 3

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— Earlier this month, Wegmans said it was opening a location in Cary. Around the same time, Amazon started a one-hour delivery service, which included groceries.

When they look at all the new supermarket options now available in the Triangle area, people in downtown Raleigh are wondering when they’ll get a neighborhood grocery store.

The closest supermarket—Harris Teeter at Cameron Village—is only a few miles away, but downtowners have long talked about the prospect of a grocery store closer to the heart of the city.

Andy Ellen, president of the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association, said it’s hard for grocers to find enough land downtown to handle delivery trucks and parking. Plus, with the thin profit margins of the grocery business, the products have to move.

“A handbasket for every consumer doesn't necessarily turn the shelves enough to make it profitable,” Ellen said.

Amazon’s same-day delivery service offers groceries delivered in as little as an hour, but shoppers still like the convenience of hands-on grocery shopping, according to Bill King, with the Downtown Raleigh Alliance.

“They want to be able to see the fruit and vegetables and touch it and feel it,” he said. “I’m not sure people want to trust that to someone else, necessarily.”
        
King said Prime Now – Amazon’s new service – hasn’t curbed grocers’ appetites to move to downtown Raleigh.

“We’ve got several grocers very interested; they see the demand, the growth,” King said. “Right now, it's finding the right location.”

King said an announcement could come later this year, but it may not be a traditional supermarket format.

Some grocers interested in downtown Raleigh specialize in fresh food and have stores that feel like a farmers' market, King said.

4 Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Skillet Gilmore Mar 4, 2016
    user avatar

    People at the Harris Teeter can not park. This is not a racially biased statement, this is not an anti-(insert racial/ethnic grouping here) comment. This is a documented fact. Obviously, most Cameron Village residents are not terrible parkers but a few are for one reason or another and will take up 2 spaces and likely join the crowds complaining about the dearth of parking opportunities in their area.

  • Norman Lewis Mar 4, 2016
    user avatar

    The reason many grocery stores do not "make it" in the downtown area is a simple one, a simple reason many do not want to accept, THEY GET SHOPLIFTED BLIND. This is not a racially biased statement, this is not an anti-(insert racial/ethnic grouping here) comment. This is a documented fact. Obviously, most downtown residents are not thieves but a few are for one reason or another and will rob grocery stores for all they are worth and likely join the crowds complaining about the dearth of shopping opportunities in their area.

  • Craig Elliott Mar 3, 2016
    user avatar

    Interesting.

    As downtown Raleigh is increasingly gentrified, the "gentrifiers" want the same level of service the up-market suburbs expect.

    The fact is that operating a Harris Teeter or Whole Foods downtown will require pricing significantly higher than the suburbs due to it's higher operating costs.

    That's life, kids, deal with it...

  • Barbara Sossomon Mar 3, 2016
    user avatar

    Good grief. Go shop at HT and get over it. There has been at least one, maybe two grocers down there and they could not make it. I do not have a grocer right around the corner. I can take a couple of extra minutes and go and get groceries.