The Final Days of Akron's West Point Market
After 79 years, Akron’s West Point Market closes this week. But as WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports, plans are being made to re-open the specialty grocery store soon.
On Saturday, there was a line out to the parking lot at 1711 West Market Street, as foodies like retired teacher Carol Hendrickson prepared to head into the chocolate-colored-brick building one last time.
“I came over here every Friday on payday and bought my lunch for school. I came in here to the deli and I would always get my salad for school for the next week. And then my principal used to make fun of me and she goes, ‘you eat gourmet lunches from West Point? We don’t pay you enough to do that.’ Well, yea you do.”
The wines, meats and cheeses – plus those Killer Brownies – have kept West Point Market popular since it opened in 1936 in Highland Square. Founder Harold Vernon moved his shop to its current location in 1940, and today it’s run by his grandson, Rick.
“It’s been a bit sad, especially for our charter customers. And some of the employees that have been with us for 20 [or] 30 years. But we’re making a transition to a new location and a new and better West Point Market.”
Texas-based Whole Foods made an offer for the property this year – an offer Vernon says was too good to pass up. He says his new, scaled-down store will likely be closer to the bustling Montrose shopping district that sits four miles west.
“We’d also like to appeal to a little younger customer, with the millennials: more prepared foods, more to-go items, but fresh-made. We’re planning on doing an open kitchen and bakery on-site. And of course our cheese and wine are our destination departments.”
West Point Market is open from 10 a.m. -5 p.m. through this Thursday, and an auction of the store’s fixtures and furniture is slated for Jan. 8.