From once predominately industrial warehouses to its current trajectory as a maturing residential enclave, the fascinating evolution of the Arts District in Downtown LA continues to amaze and excite me. This past weekend, local indie Grow Market soft opened for business inside the massive One Santa Fe mixed-use project adjacent to the popular vegan eatery Cafe Gratitude. The new grocer is only the second location to open for the Manhattan Beach market and signals the increasingly strong demand for more amenities catering to the growing population in the Arts District.
While visiting the new store this past Saturday, the first thing that came to my mind was how much the store felt like a mini Whole Foods (with high prices to match). At approximately 5,300 square feet, the market is stocked with high quality items including mostly, if not all, organic produce, meats, nuts, frozen foods, freshly prepared deli food options, as well as a decent selection of wine and beer. In addition, you’ll find a variety of other items you’d expect at a market like spices, canned foods, and detergent. There were still a few empty shelves where a sign asked customers to provide feedback about what they wanted to see in their new Grow Market.
For me, although I definitely appreciate the concept of locally sourced food items, I also know that many people, including myself, would like to see more lower priced items as well. Organic bananas at $1.49/lb while some of the organic apples at $3.99/lb are just a little too high priced in my book. Again, I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade and I think it’s fantastic that another market has opened here in Downtown LA to serve the residents. However, I think it’s unfortunate that customers are not given an option for lower priced items. In a nation stifled by debt and increasing overhead costs, I think it’s ever more important for consumers to have access to more affordable options. Even Whole Foods, which is often referred to as “Whole Paycheck,” is beginning to experiment with a lower priced concept called 365 opening in Silver Lake next year. In the end, I think the best case scenario is to have both high and low options available giving people the freedom of balance and choice.
Grow Market in Downtown LA is open Mon thru Sat from 8 am to 10 pm and Sunday from 9 am to 8 pm.