The most important downtown Spokane business

Currently, Rite-Aid is the most important business in downtown Spokane. At least, if we want to continue to grow our residential base. (PHOTO: ky24941 on Flickr)

Nope. You’re not blind. The most important business in downtown Spokane is Rite Aid. Much talk is given to Nordstrom and Macy’s and Apple, but if our goal is to increase the amount of people living downtown, then Rite Aid remains critically significant to the area’s long-term success. Why? No other store downtown offers such basic needs. Where else, for example, could you purchase a toothbrush at 9pm when you realize that you need a new one? (Answer: nowhere.) When deciding whether to live downtown, people don’t worry about shopping. Our downtown shopping scene is already excellent. They worry about where they are going to find basic needs: food, medication, supplies.

Indeed, in order to drive long-term success in attracting young professionals to live downtown, city leaders and businesspeople should be focused on bringing more basic retail to the area. Attracting a grocery store should be the number one priority. (In contrast to Mark Richard’s proposal to close the Spokane Public Library branch and insert large-format retail.) Local favorite Rosauer’s could explore an urban concept store, or Albertson’s could build a local version of “the market by Safeway” (Albertson’s will soon complete its Safeway purchase). But one thing’s for sure: basic needs trump outside desires in the new downtown.

What do you think? Is Rite Aid the most important business in downtown Spokane? Do you shop there? Live downtown? What would be your most important store? Where would you like to see a grocery store downtown? And which retailer would you like to see operate it? Share your thoughts in the comments below, on Facebook, and on Twitter. We love to hear from you.

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4 thoughts on “The most important downtown Spokane business

  1. When I worked in downtown, my coworkers and I visited that Rite-Aid on a regular basis to grocery shop for cheap lunch supplies, and to pick up the random one-off things we needed on the way home from work. We would walk to Main Market when we could, but with Main Market on one side of downtown and Rosauers on the other, it was too far to easily walk with armloads of groceries. Completely agreed with you!

  2. I think Spokane already does have a downtown grocery store. It is called the Main Market Co-op, and yes, you can buy a (recycled and compostable!) toothbrush there. They have extended their summer hours later into the evening, and perhaps in the not so distant future they could open up a second location more on the west side of downtown. Communities less than a quarter of our size (i.e. Olympia) sustain two co-ops, one on each side of town and are looking to build a third. We can certainly expand to two.

  3. If you need a toothbrush at 9 PM, you’re going to have to walk to Rosauer’s or a gas station, because Rite-Aid and the Co-Op both close at 9 o’clock.

    Rite-Aid is great for when you need something and can’t get to a better store. I buy a lot of rubber bands and packing tape there. If you are interested in buying junk food with a 50% convenience markup, it is also a good place for that. It is almost like a grocery store with only junk food for sale. They have entire aisles with nothing but beef jerky.

    An actual grocery store in the downtown core would be great. The Co-Op is a fantastic place but totally impractical to buy more than just “special occasion groceries” or “healthy snacks that cost as much as a meal”.

    Though, their breakfast bagels are probably the best in town.

  4. Pingback: Seven photos illustrate how an obsession with parking is destroying downtown Spokane | Spokane Rising

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