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Sunday, June 22, 2003

Sign o' the (bad) times

The disintegration of the once-proud Irvington Market is nearly complete. Today on a Sunday-coming-home-from-church shopping stop, we discovered that the Cheshire Cat deli and the flower mart there have gone the way of the complex's high-end produce operation -- namely, out of business. Newman's Fish Market is hanging in there valiantly, but with its neighbors gone, there are fewer features to draw customers in. It sure doesn't look good for that enterprise. I remember when Newman's was also part of a nice shared space on SW Macadam Avenue -- produce, flowers, and seafood. The components of the place shut down in that order, as I recall.

Ground hasn't even been broken on the new building down the street from the Irvington that's supposed to host a Zupan's Market someday, but I'm sure it will have a chilling effect on the neighborhood shopping landscape. Until Zupan's opens, there just won't be specialty food in the Lloyd District.

And there's still a cold wind blowing through the Nature's Wild Oats store at NE 15th and Fremont, too. Whenever I'm in there, it seems a lot lonelier than it used to be. Checkers are standing around with no customers to check out.

Irvington residents: If you want Newman's and Nature's to stick around, you had better make a point of shopping there again, and soon.

In grocery failure news on the other side of town, the owner of the Burlingame Grocery was convicted this week of torching his own business. The key piece of evidence was a security video that appeared to show the guy in the store just before it went up in flames. (It's in the streaming video report labeled "KGW-TV report" here, about 55 seconds into it.) His lawyers claimed you couldn't tell it was him. The jury apparently was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that it was.

Tough business.

Today's shopping trip did include one uplifting occurrence, though. I did get to see City Commissioner Erik Sten on his way out of Grand Central Baking. Funny, my good buddy Erik didn't recognize me.

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