Fresh foods will be the focal point of a new grocery store planned for Downtown Memphis.
Castle Retail Group, parent company of Cash Saver and High Point Grocery stores, will bring a new store to South Main at 136 Webster sometime this year. The store, to be called South Point Grocery, is sandwiched between Central Station on the west and the U.S. Postal Service facility on the east.
Tom Archer, owner and president of Archer Custom Builders, bought the building in 2017 with visions to bring a grocery store to Downtown Memphis. The store will be small — with a sales floor of about 8,000 square feet — compared to other stores. Its size and the neighborhood pushed the focus on fresh foods, said Rick James, owner and CEO of Castle Retail Group.
“We know in a space of this size, we’re not going to have 48-roll toilet paper; it just won’t work,” James said. “But we can handle high-end, fresh produce, deli, bakery, and a butcher shop. Quality and freshness would be two of the key words.”
Another grocery store has been on the Downtown to-do list for more than a decade, as some have said Miss Cordelia’s feels far away and disconnected from Downtown’s Central Business District. For years, Downtowners have have told surveyors that another grocery store is a missing gap for the neighborhood. James said many now drive five miles to Midtown stores, like Cash Saver or Kroger, to stores in West Memphis, Arkansas, or to big-box stores like Costco on Germantown Parkway.
James and Archer said South Point Grocery makes sense now with Downtown’s new population density. Nearly 26,000 people lived Downtown last year, according to the latest numbers from the Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC), up slightly from the nearly 25,000 people who lived there in 2010. DMC data says nearly 88,000 occupy Downtown during the day.
“We’ve been down here all these years and South Main has been kind of on the edge of busting wide open,” said Archer, whose company is headquartered on South Main. “We wanted to get ahead of that but it beat us. It’s been crazy down here the last couple of years. So, this is perfect timing.”
South Point Grocery was, in part, inspired by Castle’s success at High Point Grocery. James said before buying the beloved community grocery store, his company had not really done a small-format store. Without it, “we wouldn’t have had the confidence that we can” run a smaller store Downtown. Archer said he’d been looking for a partner for his Downtown grocery building, saw James talking about High Point Grocery on the news, and walked away impressed when he went to see it for himself.