The Market, the 22,000-square-foot grocery store in the burgeoning mid-Market neighborhood, is rebranding itself as a Ferry Building-style food hall. The store won't be shrinking its grocery stock of 9,000 items, but instead rearranging to make room for up to 20 new independent tenants. Culinary director Mario Tolentino (Betelnut, Bait & Barley) is in late-stage talks with Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, Doughnut Dolly, Water 2 Table and Steep Bubble Tea; definite tenants include Poke Bar, Azalina Malaysian, Project Juice, Blue Bottle Coffee and Nuubia chocolates. Space is still available though, and the team is actively accepting applications.
"I flew out to NYC and went to Eataly and Gansevoort Market and came back and felt the best way to attack this was really to have more best in class, very SF-centric or at least West Coast-centric, well-known small businesses," Tolentino told Eater. "What I provide for people is a sustainable and cheap rent and infrastructure they need. It’s obviously up to them to generate the funds, to promote and to make their business a reality."
The inspiration for the big change is that The Market, despite getting more than 2,500 customers a day, has not yet turned a profit. While the average Whole Foods customer reportedly spends $110 per trip, The Market’s average sale on groceries is just $25. In contrast, the prepared food space is significantly higher in SF than the national average (70 percent of food sales are prepared food in SF versus 50 percent nationwide). Regardless, The Market team is still moving forward with its Nob Hill market plans — which is where Hapa Ramen might eventually open — using a similar business model, but has axed the one on Main and Folsom Streets.
The changes arrive as Mid-Market (and the SF tech scene) finds itself in a make-it-or-break-it moment. High-profile openings keep pouring into the tech corridor — most recently Cadence and The Perennial — and there are no signs of it slowing down. Meanwhile, Twitter, the area’s anchor tech tenant, is in the midst of a shakeup, after news broke of the departure of four top executives over the weekend, and stock dipped to an all-time low. To be determined if the area can support all this food growth.