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Northeast Ohio


The final days of Akron's West Point Market
The 79-year-old grocer is scouting for new locations in the Montrose area
by WKSU's KABIR BHATIA


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Kabir Bhatia
 
Lines snaked throughout the West Point Market as Akron foodies stopped by during the store's closing week.
Courtesy of KABIR BHATIA
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Correction: This story originally reversed the names of the father and son.

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.
LISTEN: The final days of Akron's West Point Market

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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 4 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.
Listener Comments:

I was a WP Market Customer from for many many years moving to Austin, Tx. 1983 then moved back to Fairlawn in 1993 until 2007 then back to Austin, Tx. Over the years I keeped in touch with WPM on line. Thank you all for many good years. You will be missed. No other can replace WPM

Trina


Posted by: Trina Kuzak (Austin, Tx) on January 12, 2016 6:01AM
Harold Vernon was the founder. Harold moved the store from Highland Square to 1711 W Market St. Harold is Russ's father. Russ was a toddler in 1940. Russ returned from the southwest in the 70s to help run and eventually transform the store.


Posted by: Martha (Akron) on December 28, 2015 9:12AM
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