The store is fantastic - great selection and prices that are in-line with any other Schnucks store. Shopping in a smaller store like this one shows how much square footage in a typical grocery store is "wasted" on things like seasonal items and home decor. The layout of the Culinaria is very effecient, and it features an exciting urban design.
I have to believe that this store has what it takes to be a success. The downtown residential population will continue to grow as projects that are currently under construction or stalled finally come online. The store makes downtown much more attractive as a neighborhood, and hopefully its presence will encourage people who are on the fence about moving downtown to take the plunge.
Its success will also hinge on downtown office workers as well. I hope that many decide to take advantage of this convenience.
It will be interesting to see if the Culinaria has the same "anchor effect" in the surrounding area that suburban grocery stores have on strip centers. Will retailers fill vacant storefronts near the Culinaria in an attempt to tap into its customer base? In an article in yesterday's Post-Dispatch, Steve Symsack of Coldwell Banker Commercial - who has several listings in and around Old Post Office Square - says he believes it will:
There's already a change in the climate, said Symsack, who is the broker for a block of storefronts around the corner from the new grocery. Interest in those properties has picked up, he said. He has one tenant who specifically wants to move there because Schnucks is next door.If you haven't been to the Culinaria yet, check it out. Better yet, make an effort to do even a portion of your grocery shopping there and support downtown retail.
Lewis Reed was kind enough to take some photos at the grand opening this morning and post them to Flickr: Link