After spending half a century in the suburbs, The Store — one of Utah’s best-known specialty markets — heads to the big city.
The locally owned business will open its urban concept Friday inside The Gateway development just west of downtown Salt Lake City.
The corner market at 90 S. Rio Grande St. — across from Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum — is expected to be a frequent stop for those who live, work and attend events in and around the open-air complex.
At 9,000 square feet, The Store downtown is about half the size of its Holladay sibling, at 2050 E. 6200 South. Yet owner Jeff Niederhauser and son Scotty — who will be the store director — have managed to squeeze hundreds of daily essentials and specialty items into the shop.
It will sell all the staples from milk, bread and eggs to cheese, produce and soap. The outlet also offers a deli, bakery and meat counter as well as gift items, snacks and dozens of beverages including kombucha and cold brew coffee. It’s one of the few places in Utah to sell Stubborn soda, Pepsi’s all-natural fountain brand.
The heart of the new market is expected to be The Store’s ready-to-eat options that include sandwiches, a salad bar, hot meals, rotisserie chickens and smoked meats. Chef Paul Morello, who has worked in New York and Washington, D.C., will oversee all fresh food preparation.
The only thing missing at the downtown store is its own parking. “I’m used to having a parking lot in front of my store,” Jeff Niederhauser said. But with some 2,000-plus apartments and condominiums — as well as businesses and hotels — within a few block radius, most customers are expected to arrive by foot, TRAX train, bike or scooter.
And, of course, The Gateway does have underground parking lots. Besides, the complex hasn’t forgotten motorists. The Gateway recently added 30-minute diagonal parking spots near The Store along 100 South between 400 and 500 West.
The Store will be open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. On Saturday, Sept. 7, it will hold a “Meet the Maker” event. From noon to 4 p.m., shoppers can sample some of the Utah-made products The Store sells.
The Store also has opened a satellite outlet in Salt Lake City’s Central 9th neighborhood, moving into the spot where Jade Market used to be at 161 W. 900 South. All the ready-to-go items for that store will be produced at The Gateway location, Niederhauser said.
Steve Bellis founded The Store in 1968 and operated it until 1999, when he sold it to Jeff Niederhauser, a longtime employee who had worked there since he was 15 and bagged groceries.
Since taking over, Niederhauser has made sure that The Store has showcased the best Utah-made products. Solstice Spices, Salsa del Diablo, Rebecca’s Chocolates, Cakes de Fleur and June Pie are just a few of the Utah businesses that The Store has helped launch by putting their products on the shelves.
“We were doing local,” Niederhauser said, “before local was cool.”
Niederhauser said The Store has continued to thrive despited heavy competition from national grocers such as Smith’s Food & Drug, Walmart, Whole Foods and Utah-based Harmons Grocery and Macey’s. “You must do your own thing and focus on customer service.”
The Store is the latest addition to The Gateway’s dining and entertainment center, which has undergone a $100 million renovation. The overhaul has included boosted security and a face-lift for the common areas. A new food hall is expected to open soon, and there are plans to build a boutique hotel onto the Union Pacific Depot.
The area has been labeled a food desert, with residents having to drive to Smith’s Food & Drug in The Avenues or, more recently, to the Harmons at City Creek, to shop.
The need for a market was obvious earlier this week. As employees of The Store were stocking shelves and putting the finishing touches on the new downtown location, passersby kept walking in looking to buy drinks, snacks and other items.
“Adding in amenities like a local grocer,” said Jacklyn Briggs, marketing director for The Gateway, “help us to create a pedestrian-friendly community at The Gateway that benefits residents, employees and the surrounding area.”