County Commissioner considers opening store near downtown
Kevin Wolff, wife in talks to operate grocery store near the Pearl
Bexar County Commissioner Kevin Wolff and his wife Sandi are considering taking advantage of the boom in urban housing by getting into the grocery business.
The couple has their sights set on a proposed development in the rapidly growing Broadway corridor North of downtown San Antonio that calls for demolishing a vacant car wash and replacing it with a 3-story building.
The developer envisions a roof top bar, fine dining on the second floor and a fresh food market on the ground level.
The Wolffs are currently in talks with the developer to run that urban market.
"We've looked at the plans the owner has in regards to how he wants to build the building and what we might do on the ground floor of it," Kevin Wolff said. "We're kind of neck deep in the research so it's very serious."
While the Wolff family name is most commonly recognized in the world of local politics, it also has ties to the local grocery business.
Kevin Wolff's dad, County Judge Nelson Wolff, and uncles started the Sun Harvest chain years ago. Kevin Wolff not only worked in the store as a teen, but he also met his future wife there.
"It's actually where I met my wife 20 years ago," Wolff said. "I grew up in the grocery business and she worked there for almost 15 years so it's obviously something we've been around a lot."
While they had kicked around the idea of owning their own store together for years, it wasn't until the recent boom in urban housing hit that they started to seriously consider making their dream a reality.
With an estimated 1,500 new urban residences open or under construction in the Broadway corridor, the couple jumped at the idea of running a store in the area where they bought their first property together years ago.
"The area needs it," Sandi Wolff said. "There is so much growth and having lived there before it was developed I think we saw the need for that right away and just with the population growth and the expected population growth they need a grocery store and if we're the ones to provide it, then so be it."
The store wouldn't be a huge suburban style supermarket. The developer's plans call for a 7,000-10,000 square foot market that would cater to the urban dwellers who live within walking distance.
"This is not a place you're going to travel to in your vehicle," Kevin Wolff said. "The parking doesn't exist and those types of things, so it has to be truly an urban market, something Sandi and I are familiar with because we used to live in Manhattan."
As the developer waits for city council to vote on a zoning change to make the development a reality, Wolff and his wife are deep into the research trying to make sure the area can support a store.
"You have to have a certain level of density for it to have an opportunity to work and all of the new growth you've seen in and around the Pearl, that's what has us looking at it," Kevin Wolff said. "We're not positive yet. We're looking at exactly those sort of business metrics over the next couple months to determine if it really can make it there. If the answer is yes, than Sandi and I will figure out a way to do it."
For a list of recent stories Tim Gerber has done, click here.
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