The last dingy bodega on Broadway appears to be out of business.
The Super 97 Cent Store remained dark Friday morning and its doors locked to customers stopping by for everything from cigarettes to “cheap Scotch tape” — one saddened shopper explained to CHS that tape down the street at Rite Aid is “too darned expensive.” A letter documenting nearly $18,000 in missed rent and late charges hung — taped, we’ll note — from the glass door in the building adjacent the Dick’s parking lot. Inside, shelves remain fully stocked, the fake eyelash rack at full selection, beer signs still illuminated.
We tried to contact the store’s ownership this summer to report on rising rents along Broadway as the street seems to continue to emerge from the economic downturn funk and a busy slate of transit construction. The grocery mart’s new neighbor Phoenix Comics moved into a space vacated by a longtime Broadway retailer in April. Our calls went unanswered and we were told nobody was available to talk when we stopped by the store. We have been unable to reach the owners, again, this time around.
The apparent closure could add another empty space along Broadway where there continues to be a steady churn of open retail units even with some large tenants like Office Max moving in. The end of Super 97 also means the last of Broadway’s small markets has closed. In 2009, we documented the end for Broadway Grocery at Broadway and E Harrison. Service stations at Roy and Pike provide facilities that can help fill any mini-mart gap.
Some Broadway longtimers have told CHS that implementation of the city’s “Alcohol Impact Areas” banning the sale of high-alcohol beverages helped to kill the little markets. A changing Broadway has also had a lot to do with it. Meanwhile, you’ll still find a few bodegas scattered around the Hill. Enjoy Benson’s and the others while you still can.