Grocers Migrate to Urban Areas

More supermarkets are opening stores in cities like New York, Chicago and Phoenix.

October 30, 2019

NEW YORK—After abandoning the inner cities for the suburbs years ago, grocery stores are moving back into downtown areas in cities across the country, Forbes reports. New York now sports a Wegmans, Phoenix has a Fry’s, and Chicago and Boston got a Trader Joe’s.

What’s behind supermarkets returning to downtown? Residents for one. Brooklyn, Phoenix and Boston all have had new blood moving into the city limits. In addition, localities with new grocery stores also have had a resurgence of downtown development.

With the influx of residents comes a desire for more shopping choices close to home. While many of these cities have a robust selection of supermarkets, most people want to shop close to where they live, especially in larger cities.

Trader Joe’s, Fry’s and Wegmans all have one thing in common, too: A killer selection of prepared foods. Stores now give shoppers options for eating in-stores, take home and cook, take home and heat, or make from scratch.

Then there are the real-estate opportunities. Grocery stores are very attractive to developers, especially ones building mix-used facilities. The new Brooklyn Wegmans is part of a larger development called Brooklyn Navy Yard, while Fry’s is part of a new office, restaurant and apartment complex in Phoenix.