The grande opening (March 17th) for the Elmwood Market & Grill was a success; everything (mostly, save for the beer and some organics, the credit/EBT system was yet to be activated) in place and ready for the steady stream of customers wishing them success and of course, buying things. I was there Monday morning
, and seeing as I live accross the street, I'll be there every day no doubt. The atmosphere is a whole lot more inviting than Wilson farms, and less of a chore than Walgreens. I also had a chance to chat a bit with the owners: Dale, Alex, and Tony. The guys are very excited to be on Elmwood and are eager to fit in with the community, asking for suggestions to stock (organics and conventional) and basically trying to get a feel for the area.
Since Latina's closed last spring, the community has been longing for a new place to shop. Unfulfilled talks of Dash's, Tops, and Whole Food's filling the void that Latina's left put despair in the area. No one wants to be let with a crummy Wilson Farms; the added burden has had a negative effect on the store, overcrowding at times and leaving the store more haggard than it has been in years. Thus, the Elmwood Market has many shoes to fill... have they picked the right ones to tackle? We'll see.
Read on for my initial assessment of the store and its role for the community.
The Elmwood market is...
- Your Morning Stop - the Breakast Combo (any breakfast sandwich, coffee and two hashbrowns for $3.99) is sure to be a winner in the morning. pick up some cold cuts, cheese, a few Costanza rolls, and you have lunch fixin's for a week. I'll have my good buddy Kirk report back on how that works out for him. He was a big fan of X-cel. I'll start getting the breakfast special as soon as I use up my Wilson's Coffee Bucks.
- A Cheap (and good) Grill and Deli - In the wake of X-cel, getting something to eat left you with Jim's or Just Pizza. While both are amazing places to eat and definite Buffalonian mainstays, I doubt anyone's gut will survive a sustained diet of either. You can and will get full for under $10 bucks, most sandwiches won't take you past 6 bucks; all 12' subs are only $6.49ea. as for the deli meats? I'll do a little research, but I hear the meats are cheaper than Tops. As of right now, the grilled chicken sandwich is my favorite, and nothing is better than a sammy on a Costanza roll.
- A Essentials Market - Obvious, but the shelves are stocked with enough goods that you will only need to head to Tops for produce or that giant stock-up I hear you people that buy food do once a month. I haven't had groceries in my house for a year, partly due to laziness and partly due to my pride of not wanting to be loaded down on the bus. I still may not. Why, with a pantry next door, I'll just dash down and get what I need. In the next week or so, I'll have a price comparison between Wilson farms, Walgreen's, and Elmwood Market on the essentials like milk eggs, tp, etc.
- A Safe Place to Shop - I have never seen so many security cameras in one place before. There is even a cam pointed on the street by the store, and everything is hooked into the video system. This was a common fear of impending trouble but i can assure you these guys have it covered. In addition to the cameras, there is a no single beer can/bottle policy, aiming to keep the riff-raff from hanging around panhandling for change to get a 40oz. I'm sure someone will make a try to knock this place over, but the deterrent factor is huge.
The Elmwood Market is not...
- A Wilson Farms Killer - Wilson Farms serves a valuable purpose and always had. Once people get used to the Market, the Farms will go back to what it was.... a late night beer/smoke/munchie stop. A little healthy competition is good for everyone, and when the Market closes at 11pm, Wilson's is and will still be the place to go for the afterhour goods.
- One of "those" places - As with all good things, people want to fail the market before it has a chance to mess up. Supposedly, the guys who own the market own a few stores on the east side that are in sorry condition. I haven't been to these places but this is the "dirt" that I've heard the most. I really hope that this won't happen to their Elmwood location, and I don't think it will. The place is just too nice to let it go to shit, and the spacious location will prevent the overclutter that leads to dumpy grocers. However, this is all relative to the amount of support given to it by the community. Hold them accountable for a great store and support them and the Elmwood Market should be here for years to come.
Overall, I'm very pleased with the Market. I've talked with Dale and Alex and they really seem to want what's best for the community. Everyone at the Market is very friendly, inviting questions and even letting a blogger like me get all nosy.
[Ironman tought us that gang signs are "totally cool." ]
That means that you need to go in there and say hi, tell them a bit about what you want to see stocked at the Market. You can also head to their website
and send them a note
, and read their welcome
to the community. The owners will be in the store for the first month before leaving the store in the hands of the managers; don't wait to say hello. This is your Market, get involved.
[Good luck you guys! Thanks for the T-shirts - Buffawhat & Sai One ]
You can check out the rest of the pictures of the Elmwood Market in my flickr set, just click below..,