There is demand for a better grocery store in downtown Richmond

08/12/2012 11:56 AM by

One focus of recurring complaint in the area is the Farm Fresh on Main Street. While it serves as an adequate middle-of-the-road grocery store, nobody really seems to like the place, and there is an untapped demand for a different kind of store.

A recent email sums it up and calls for something to happen, if not right here in the neighborhood than at least somewhere downtown:

As I’m sure you know, the selection is getting increasingly worse, the produce is low quality and over priced […] It’s ridiculous that there’s not a decent grocery east of Belvidere […] Is it feasible that the Market could be bought out — or is a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s or Harris Teeter or Wegman’s plausible on Broad between Belvidere and the Bottom? I’m a fan of local, but I admit that I think some big box stores on Broad could really help revitalize the area — and keep our tax dollars in the city.

Other than the Farm Fresh, there are 3 other options for buying groceries in the area: the Food Circus on Creighton Road and the Community Supermarket on Mechanicsville Turnpike, both embedded in the public housing at the north edge of the area; and the Martin’s at White Oak, a few miles away and in Henrico.

Dreamscape 25th Street Corridor. Imagine a magical grocery store just to the north.

A grocery store has been part of the greater discussion regarding the future of the vacant block at 25th and Nine Mile, though the idea of any development there is feeling more and more fantastical. In 2006 then-Councilwoman McQuinn said we’d see a grocery store at 25th and Nine Mile by 2008. Even if were to happen, this would not likely be a great improvement on the Farm Fresh.

A 2010 piece on Shockoe News put forth the idea that Manchester would be a great location for Whole Foods:

It seems that a Whole Foods in Manchester would not only serve the growing density in the immediate area, but also draw folks from Shockoe, Tobacco Row, Forrest Hill, the Fan, and Church Hill. […]

The map below shows the population within a 2 1/2 mile radius of Commerce and Hull and then a 5 mile radius. The smaller circle pulls in VCU, much of the Fan, Byrd Park, and almost everyone west to Westover Hills, much of the greater Church Hill area, and Fulton.

I’ve heard talk in recent years that Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s have considered Jackson Ward as a next location in the Richmond area.

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