Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Don Marsh Doesn't Like Downtown Indy

The Star's business writer Madhusmita Bora tells us that Don Marsh, CEO of Marsh Supermarkets, gave his employees a pep talk on Monday to assure them that things aren't as bad as they look, and that the grocery store chain is still in business. "We have great stores, outstanding employees and a fine reputation, and we intend to go forward as planned," Marsh is quoted as saying.

AI has some advice for Marsh. Take some time away from all the sporting events and trips on your private jet to tour your downtown store--that would be the O'Malia's in Lockerbie you purchased from the O'Malia family a few years back and quickly turned into a run-down, roadside stand. You might start with a thorough cleaning of the place. To be blunt, it's dirty and the stench of spoiled milk in the dairy section is enough to keel anyone over.

As for the "fresh produce" you're trying to pawn off on us, the gig is up. The store has obviously become the dumping ground for any produce you wouldn't dare put out in your Marsh brand stores because of the nose-turning reaction any discerning shopper would give to such aged and unappealing fruits and vegetables. And as for the eggs, there's a reason the government requires them to be dated. Imagine my reaction when I once discovered that not one of the egg cartons was date stamped. Your store manager wisely pulled all of the cartons from the shelf when I complained to him. Also, try offering milk that doesn't expire within a day or two of its purchase.

The bakery and deli were the best features of the old O'Malia's store, but you closed the O'Malia's bakery and now offer your customers an assortment of "nothing fresh-baked" and a variety of unappealing deli dishes. The only section of the store that lives up to the O'Malia's name is the meat department. And those butchers back there are none too happy with what you've done to their store. Just ask them if you doubt me. For that matter, ask any employee who is still working there from the good ole days and you'll get the same answer: "This store sucks!"

Downtown residents can only hope that new development plans underway on the north end of Massachusetts Avenue will bring some much-needed competition to your pathetic store. And the same goes for the Kroger store at 16th & College. In case the people running Kroger haven't figured it out yet, your store is now surrounded by half-million dollars homes, not the ghetto. Get a clue.


Anonymous said...

Amen brother.

I've been griping about this for two years now. Between the high dollar Old Northside and new condos for the rich, the young professionals Lockerbie, Chatham, St Joe, Canal area and the rest of downtown, the slightly less rich but still HUNGRY Fall Creek Place residents, and hoardes of law/dental/med and nursing students in the downtown rentals (not to mention thousands of office workers who'd stop by for stuff on their way home as long as there was at least some parking) you'd think there'd be a decent freaking Grocery Store! I don't get it. I've been stunned the 16th St Kroger didn't jump at the chance once O'Malia's totally went to hell. I mean, the market is ripe for an urban Target or even a Trader Joe's or the like, but the lack of a decent supermarket...? You know it's bad when sometimes your best option for milk is the all night CVS on Illinois.

Who do you have to ______ in this town to get a grocery store downtown? I'm about ready.

Anonymous said...

I lived downtown a few years ago and moved because I had to drive to Southport Rd to get any decent shopping. More professionals would live downtown if we had any sort of retail amenities.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Unfortunately, it appears another CVS is likely to be opened downtown before we get a decent grocery store.

Anonymous said...

I must be living in a different universe because I rather like O'Malias. I have never had a problem with them but yes I would like to see improvements.

Also, I've never had issue with the milk selection or expiration dates and I like that fact that O'Malias carries a lot of things even bigger stores don't. Considering their smaller square footage, I think they do quite well on selection and variety.

(and no, I am not employed by them or Marsh)

Anonymous said...

It was somewhere in teh Star (no tiem to dig up the link) abotu Kroger wanting to buy up the land aroudn its 16th street store and build a new larger Kroger.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Kevin--sorry your standards are so low. You obviously haven't been in one of Marsh's stores on the northside to see the stark comparison between the quality of the stores. And while it is a small store, it was always a top revenue generator for O'Malia's on a square foot comparison basis.

Jason--I read the same thing. But I also know that members of the neighborhood association have begged and pleaded with Kroger for years to do something and their pleas have pretty much fallen on deaf ears.

Anonymous said...

The Kroger at 16th and Central/College is working on buying up land to put in a full-sized grocery store in that location. Unfortunately, the King's Park Development Corp (the neighborhood directly north) is blocking their purchases in an arm-twising move to attempt to get them to build an expensive, custom building to fit the "urban" setting, and their proposals would break the bank. So we finally convinced Kroger to upgrade their store after all these years, and the deal is endangered by a group of people who want to ask for the moon.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Thanks for sharing Steph. I know the man who had worked hard on this project for the neighborhood association, Curtis. He sadly died prematurely last year at the age of 43 from a heart attack.