“It’s changed the culture of our company, and it’s been intentional,” Binkowski said of the introduction of the Uptown concept. “There’s a better way to do business. It really is about the ministry of the work. Our people will tell you they feel called to do this. It’s that intangible thing that happens that you can’t put your finger on – it’s that people feel loved there, it’s a place where people can feel engaged with the experience of food that you don’t have in your traditional grocery.”
The grocery will be built just east of the current Buy For Less at NE 23 and Martin Luther King Avenue, allowing the operators to open one right after they close the old store. The switch to Uptown Market, however, will not come with a price increase over what customers now pay at the Binkowski’s existing Buy For Less.
“Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is the same at Buy For Less, Super Mercado (the chain’s Hispanic grocery stores) and Uptown,” Susan Binkowski said.
Binkowski said future announcements will include the addition of a second tenant, which she described as a nationally known major retailer; an education component; and an 18,000-square foot medical complex. Plans also include retail with upstairs apartments that might allow for live-work tenants, and space designed for start-up retail entrepreneurs.
The designs by Studio, which include input by Humphreys, include community space for performances and gatherings.
“I have to give Blair Humphreys a big kudos and also to Studio Architecture to putting a flavor to this development,” Binkowski said. “From every corner there is visibility, opportunity to interact, to see and to be seen. We will have green space for the community to get together that will belong to this community. We want them to own this space, to feel free to have a soul food fest, a concert, and be a springboard for whatever is missing from the community.”