Silent Majority Indicates The Marketplace Is Demanding A New Market In North Phoenix

We came across an interesting item in the North Valley we thought worthy of passing along as it isn’t every day one sees opposition to a neighborhood grocery store, especially in an area that has a dearth of them.

The emerging neighborhoods around Deer Valley Road and Black Mountain Boulevard in “Desert Ridge” have a lot going for them. Great views, parks, well planned developments, and easy access to freeways are just a few of the things that make these neighborhoods so attractive. What they are missing is a supermarket.

A recent poll from Arizona’s most precise pollster in the 2020 elections shows 65% of the people who live around Deer Valley Road and Black Mountain Boulevard agree and want a new supermarket. A drive around the area drives that point home. Aside from an Albertsons at Desert Ridge Marketplace, there are no grocery stores within a five-mile radius.

Data Orbital surveyed 300 residents living in Northgate, Mountain Gate, Aviano West, Aviano East, and Tatum Highlands.

Enthusiasm is higher directly around the intersection of the proposed market, with nearly 71% of those living in Aviano between Cave Creek Rd and 40th St, and 79% of those in Aviano between 40th St and 56th St supporting a new grocery store.

Support is broad demographically. Among those 55 or older it’s more than 72%. It’s nearly 86% for Hispanic residents and 88% for African Americans. Support is 71% among registered Republicans.

When told the new supermarket would be a neighborhood grocer as opposed to a big box Walmart or Target, support shot up to nearly 80% across the board, and more than 84% among women.

We share all of this because Phoenix’s area Village Planning Committee recently shot down plans for a new neighborhood center at Deer Valley Road and Black Mountain Boulevard anchored by a grocery store.

The polling numbers shouldn’t surprise anyone. Who wants to travel miles to a grocery store, especially in the summer, when it takes minutes to turn a quart of ice cream into a melted mess?

While there is nothing wrong with the existing grocery store at Desert Ridge, the lines can become unbearable during peak hours.  And shoppers seeking different options are forced to travel east of Tatum or to Interstate 17.

Phoenix has rightly focused on addressing “food deserts” in struggling neighborhoods. But this part of north Phoenix is far from struggling. Its needs should be addressed as well. There is no excuse for a “food desert” in such a prosperous part of town.

Notably, a handful of residents have managed to stall plans for a neighborhood supermarket. They are a vocal minority who have ignored the benefits of the project as well as solutions to improve the flow of traffic. And when you look at the polling numbers, they are a very small minority.

There aren’t many large vacant parcels of land in this neighborhood and it’s a safe bet this parcel won’t stay vacant for long. If someone else comes along and manages to get the land zoned for an apartment complex or something else, the vocal minority may come to regret their opposition, as their neighbors drive miles to bring home quarts of melted rocky road ice cream. Hopefully, a compromise can be reached representing a win-win for all.