That exceptional service was still on display on my first visit. I was amused to see a grocery that still had carpeted floors, free cookies for younger shoppers, and a butcher counter like the ones I remembered as a kid.
Crescent Market represented everything once taken for granted about grocery stores in an era before profits were reduced to razor-thin margins established by corporate big box stores like Target and Walmart.
There is a very slim chance that Pemberton might reopen his store back downtown — possibly in a location not far from its historic roots. But both Pemberton and various developers admit those chances were far greater a couple years ago, before the onslaught by Whole Foods and Sunflower Market doomed his effort to stay put in Nichols Hills.
For Pemberton, just sharing this story was a traumatic experience that dovetailed with his mother's failing health. Teary-eyed, he finally agreed to sit down with me on Monday.
Time, it seems, is ruthless. The Grateful Bean, where folks singers entertained my family as we enjoyed an old-fashioned ice cream sundae in the old Kaiser's, is just a memory. We said a fond farewell to Taylor's Newsstand, where the magazine and newspaper racks were always far better stocked than its suburban big box competitors. Beloved coffee shops like Uncommon Grounds in Bricktown served their last java to customers in storefronts that are occupied by chocolate shops.
We didn't know what we had until these institutions were gone. The goodbyes to old favorites, sadly, keep coming.