Tuesday, March 24, 2009

In the Strip

Last week, Brian O'Neill highlighted new plans to build a Market House in the Strip District. Given my recent Cleveland trip raving about their West Side Market, I am very excited to hear about this potential addition to Pittsburgh. Imagine being able to get Clara's Pierogies, Breadworks bread, Mike & Tony's Gyros, and some cannoli's from a bakery in Bloomfield all under the same roof. Not to mention all those small-potatotoes farmers that I've never heard of. Throw in an outpost from PennMac's cheese counter, and you might actually be able to buy cheese on Saturdays without a long wait.

Personally, I do 95% of my shopping at the Strip. I find that it's hell on Saturdays, but on a weekday afternoon it's a great way to shop. The Strip District is a Pittsburgh treasure. A market house would truly complement and complete the existing offerings - giving smaller shops that can't afford to man a storefront 6-7 days a week an outlet for their wares and giving a new year-round outlet for established eateries and grocers around the county. It would also be a nice escape from some of the cold winter days when it's harsh to be walking from store to store in the Strip.

For weekly shopping the Strip can be intimidating. It's annoying to figure out which store sells the best ricotta (Penn Mac), filo dough and feta (Stamooli's), or chuck roasts (Strip District Meats). But figuring it out is also part of the fun, and once you start, you'll be excited to see which fruits Stan's has on super-markdown this week or which fish Wholey's is practically giving away. With the addition of Right By Nature, most excuses have been thrown out the window in terms of shopping at the Strip. They offer all the basics, including about 20 different brands/styles of yogurt, and they offer 2 hours of free garaged parking if you shop in their store. No more excuses. Get yourself to the Strip, and show these great grocers that with a market house, their business can only increase.


Paz said...

This is very exciting. North Market in Columbus or Reading Terminal in Philly, these places are fabulous community anchors and would be an excellent addition to the Strip.

n'at said...

Another boondoggle. There is not enough business currently in the Strip to necessitate an entire market house. If it existing, then it would have been there already: Market driven...

How well do the farmer's markets do in the neighborhoods during the summer?

Get you cheese during the week when you can swing a dead cat on a 10 foot leash while yelling expletives and not bother a soul.

A market house will cannibalize business from the Strip.

Jerry said...

I gotta agree with n'at. The Strip is as much as Pittsburgh can handle. I can't imagine what a market house could realistically expect to provide that's not already provided.

Regarding the farmers' markets -- the ones that I've gone to on any regular basis (Southside, Oakland, Bloomfield, Strip) all seem to be pretty close to sold-out by the end of the day. So I would suppose they're doing well.

illyrias said...

Agreed with Jerry on the farmer's markets. The ones that I've seen tend to do well - they even extended the downtown farmer's market till later in the season this year.

About the Strip, I talk to a lot of people who wish they shopped at the Strip more, but don't for a multitude of reasons - convenience of giant eagle/whole foods being tops on the list. A market house with easier parking would take away a lot of the inconvenience of the strip, just as right by nature has.

Manx203 said...

I like the idea. It works all over the World yet easch place keeps it unique.
I'd go.

Jennie said...

I think it would be a great addition and perhaps if it was near or on the river it could utlize the space for a boardwalk/outdoor cafe area as well. Granville Island Market House in Vancouver comes to mind.

WDOphotography said...

@Jennie - it's going to be in the produce terminal.

@n'at - I have to strongly disagree - the "market" forces that you refer to has been pushing for this for a long time but there have been serious roadblocks that held it up. They've got vendors chomping at the bit to get in there.
The Farmers At the Firehouse (the farmers market) does amazing business.
This is going to be great for the neighborhood and great for Pittsburgh.