POSTED ON FEBRUARY 22, 2012:
Downtown grocery stores face hang-ups, delays. Last fall, two Tulsa entrepreneurs raced to announce their plans for downtown grocery stores.
Blake Ewing, serial entrepreneur and District 4 City Councilor, proclaimed his new Archer Market, 307 E. Archer St. (on the ground floor of the Detroit Lofts project in the Brady Arts District), would be open by October 2011.
Meanwhile, Daniel Cameron told media outlets construction would begin soon on Cam's Grocery in a brick building, formerly used as a parking structure, at 114 S. Detroit Ave.
Cue the excited applause.
But perhaps these T-Town businessmen spoke a little too soon. Half a year later, neither grocery store has opened their doors. The Facebook page for Cam's Grocery offers frequent updates on natural cures for common problems but doesn't offer many updates on what's going on behind the scenes of T-Town's most eagerly awaited grocery store.
One update on the social network stated that the "shell and core" for the brick building will be delivered in the coming months. Workers have sandblasted the inside of the building, and should begin working on the exterior soon. The Facebook page also indicated that glitches in design with respect to water, gas and power overloads have set construction back.
"The building will need serious upgrades in those categories," according to Cam's Grocery's page. "It's fun and exciting to see this old 1920 place get repurposed. You will have your grocery soon, I promise. We are working around the clock."
Cam's Grocery, when it opens (cross fingers!), will offer fresh, locally grown produce, seasonal veggies and fruit, hormone-free, free range meats, USDA-certified organic products, herbal remedies, chemical-free cosmetics and even sustainable cleaning supplies. The grocery store will also feature a café, educational classes and events, and home grocery delivery.
As far as Archer Market is concerned, the store's public relations firm, Engine Room Creative (another Ewing venture), did not respond to requests for comment. Though we're not clear on how the market will proceed, the store did not open its doors in October as planned.
When Archer Market gets off the ground, the shop is set to offer fresh local produce, a deli, full-service catering, a hot food line with chef-prepared foods, a fresh gourmet salad bar, a breakfast cereal and oatmeal station plus a coffee shop in a mezzanine area where shoppers can sit, eat or hang out just a half-block from ONEOK Field.
Forward movement on strong wine and beer petition. Right now is a critical time for the Oklahomans for Modern Laws movement. The grassroots group should be hearing from the Oklahoma Secretary of State any day now. Attorneys are reviewing the language of the petition put together by Brian Howe and a few others.
Howe said he and his group have been working on getting the petition circulated since 2004. "We've had a lot of ups and downs, hit a couple of dead ends," Howe said. "But we kept pursuing it.
"When you're changing a multi-million dollar industry, there are a lot of people who have a lot of investment in it staying the status quo," Howe said.
The group will find out soon whether or not their petition language is considered constitutional. After that hurdle is cleared, the petition will be ready for signatures. Tune in next week to find out the latest news on strong wine and beer legislation.
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