So what makes a neighborhood and community great? As I am traveling the country and spending many hours away from my home, I am often struck as to the simplicity of the answers to this question.
For one thing, the residents of a neighborhood must not have to look far for food options, and that includes having many choices available for restaurants as well as grocery stores. Here in Rochester we are extremely lucky to have one of the country’s best and most respected high-end grocery chains—Wegman’s—call home throughout our area. And although Wegman’s has long shutdown its operations in the former Midtown Plaza in center city Rochester, the company currently has major plans to revamp its store in the city’s East Avenue location.
But is it enough? In a bid to get people living back in downtown Rochester, do we have enough options available for our city residents when it comes to grocery stores?
This is a chain of small specialty stores that sells many of its own labeled products of organic, frozen, and gourmet foods in an average location setting of about 10,000sq. ft. which is considerably smaller than the average sized Wegman’s in our area.
Is this a viable option for the city in terms of size and offerings for our city residents? I think so. Not that I am against Wegman’s or anything, because that is far from the truth. But the fact is that more options like a Trader Joe’s or a Whole Foods store would bring about more competition in the area and keep all prices competitive and attractive for residents. Different food options such as gourmet foods and organic options also would give many city residents what they want, especially when you have a good portion of the younger market looking to the city for residences.
Are these options that will be in Rochester’s near future? Right now, the suburbs might have the bid. But the city of Rochester still has more work to do. And only if we can get a critical mass of people back into downtown Rochester I think will these options come available. With that said, I am still hoping that Wegman’s will someday open another location in the downtown Rochester to make up for the closing of its Midtown store.
Jason Schwingle’s passions include travel, art and design, and our City of Rochester. He works for Jetblue Airways and is a Sr. Community Coordinator for Newdigs.com, a local tech start-up here in our very own Rochester, NY. Please comment on the postings or feel free to contact him at Jason@Newdigs.com.