I read with great interest in the Noe Valley Voice an article, "Noe Valley Hungers for a Locally Owned Grocery." (Also picked up in SFHomeBlog.com.) With Real Food closed for 2-1/2 years and now Bell Market on the selling block, we are in grave danger of being left without a real grocery store in the entirety of the neighborhood; the closest ones would be Safeway at Mission/30th or Diamond Heights and Mollie Stones in the former Tower Market up on Portola. Not such great options if you don’t own a car.
Mind you, I won’t weep when Bell goes away. Every single time I have ever gone in there with a list of items — basic things, mind you — they inevitably don’t have at least one. Last time I went in for lemons, cucumber and ginger ale. They didn’t have ginger ale. I mean, really.
The article delves into prospective interest on the part of the owners of the former MikeyTom, another long-vacant space, and the possibility of them going in with fixture Drewes Brothers meat market. Somewhat surprisingly, I have heard no inkling whatsoever about Sammy from Bi-Rite staking a claim in the space.
Whoever does take over Bell Market, I hope they have the wherewithall and savvy to serve the needs of the entire neighborhood — stocking both basics and gourmet/organic/local goods, with a fair balance of price and selection. There’s enough bad blood in Noe Valley around the long-term closure of Real Food that the business is in jeopardy even if they do complete renovations and reopen. We need a grocery store that can be an anchor to the neighborhood’s economy and community.