New Maynards Market carving out niche downtownby Teya Vitu on Apr. 17, 2009, under Calendar, Edge, Local, Taste
Shop’s focus on local products delights clientele
Defying a depressed economy and a closed Fourth Avenue underpass just a few feet away, Maynards Market appears to be growing.
The 2-month-old market in the Historic Depot, 400 E. Toole Ave., is a local business with local products for people who live and work downtown – and also for people from all over who add a market stop while dining next door at Maynards Kitchen.
“People are really yearning for something to happen downtown,” said Shana Oseran, who with her husband, Richard, owns Maynards Market and Kitchen, along with Hotel Congress across the street.
“What’s happening is we’re willing to take a chance and offer what people want.”
Maynards has already developed a loyal customer base that makes suggestions on what the market should carry, such as bottled Coca-Cola from Mexico; Orangina, a carbonated citrus drink; and Sanpellegrino mineral water.
“I sell the heck out of this,” market manager Mark Black said about Orangina. “A lot of these drinks have cult followings.”
But about half of its merchandise is made in and around Tucson and elsewhere in Arizona.
“I think over time we’re going to move closer to 100 percent local,” Black said.
Black recruited 30 local vendors to supply goods from candles, artisan breads and organic spices to scone mix, recycled vinyl accessories and fresh farmer’s cheese and butter. The store carries nearly 900 items.
Monroe Racz, who lives a block away at One North Fifth Apartments, manages to do all her food shopping at Maynards.
“It’s filled my dream of not having to use my car,” Racz said. “The store makes my shopping more convenient.”
“The market is really focusing on local products and having amenities that need to be available for people who live downtown,” Shana Oseran said. “To tell you the truth, we throw everything up in the air and see what’s selling. Believe me, it’s the local products.”
So far, the restaurant is subsidizing the market, but sales figures grow every week. Richard Oseran is pleased with the results, considering that a prime customer base is on the other side of the Fourth Avenue underpass, which is closed for construction.
Many market patrons are restaurant diners, largely because they must order their lunch at the market counter. Dinner has table service.
“Some people had to get used to the idea of not having table service at lunch,” Richard Oseran said. “The reason (for it) was to have people moving through the whole area.”
This week, runners and walkers discovered Maynards en masse.
The Southern Arizona Roadrunners staged its first “Meet Me at Maynards” Monday, drawing about 200 people to run or walk through downtown along the blue painted line known as the Presidio Trail. Before and after, participants wandered through the market, dined at the neighboring Maynards Kitchen and socialized on the track-side patio.
“The first social run was a blast,” said Randy Accetta, a former Roadrunners president and co-developer of the Maynards event. “The market is a great idea. The Maynards location was splendid: plenty of room on the patio, great drinks, discounted food – couldn’t ask for anything more.”
The Roadrunners plan to meet at the market at 6 p.m. every Monday, at least through the end of May, Accetta said.
Maynards Market and Kitchen is among a string of relatively new downtown businesses that bring an enthusiastic spirit to downtown, said Chris Early, owner of Chris’ Cafe and chair of the Downtown Tucson Partnership’s Merchants Council.
“It’s another one of those new businesses coming downtown with fresh ideas and a willingness to be open when events are going on in the evenings,” Early said.
The market fills about half of the former waiting room space at the train depot. The Oserans decided to craft shelves from pallet wood to give the space a rustic feel.
The merchandise includes an eclectic mix of breakfast items, snack stuff, detergents, decorative items, and enough components to assemble a dinner.
Lisette Sacks, creative director at a downtown advertising firm, assembles her lunch three days a week with Maynards Market merchandise.
The bar manager at the Hotel Congress selects the beer and wines, which include handcrafted beers, ales and stouts from New Mexico, Oregon, Colorado, north San Diego County, Ukiah in northern California and overseas.
Some of the beer and wine is served at the Maynards restaurant bar, and an asterisk on the dinner menu denotes ingredients available in the market.
Monica Cota provides candles hand-poured at her Rustic Candle Co. shop, 324 N. Fourth Ave. She said sales have increased 20 percent since her product has been available at Maynards.
“I’m just thrilled with the response we have had in there,” Cota said. “(Maynards) have kept reordering.”
Have any further questions about Maynards or just want to chat about other downtown issues?
Go to the comment section of this story from 2 to 3 p.m. Friday. Downtown reporter Teya Vitu who will be on hand to answer your questions.
If you go
What: Maynards’ weekly Southern Arizona Roadrunners social run
Where: Historic Train Depot, 400 N. Toole Ave.
When: 6 p.m., Mondays. Come early to check in for the free informal, non-competitive walk
Information: 991-0733 or www.azroadrunners.org.
If you go
What: New Belgium Urban Assault Ride
When: noon Sunday
Where: 400 N. Toole Ave.
Details: The New Belgium Urban Assault Ride, the largest bicycle scavenger hunt series in the world, kicks off its 10-city 2009 tour in Tucson. This event calls for street savvy and bike smarts, and promotes cycling, health and sustainability.
Info: Call 303-408-0747
Local vendors at Maynards Market
• Desert Oasis Soap Co. (bar soap and lip salves)
• Rainbow Valley Nursery (fresh farmer’s cheese and butter)
• Tucson Tamale Co. (tamales and fresh salsa)
• Caffe Lucé (fresh roasted coffee)
• Red Rock Ranch and Farms (lavender products)
• Poblano Hot Sauce Inc. (hot sauces)
• Adobe Rose Inn (scone mix)
• Vy & Elle (recycled vinyl accessories)
• Grandma Koyotes BBQ Sauce (Kansas City-style barbecue sauce with bacon bits)
• Bakehouse Bread (artisan breads)
• Mano Y Metate (mole blends)
• Rustic Candle Co. (handcrafted candles)
• Katey Coleville (hand-printed baby clothes)
• Bookmans (books and magazines)
• Five Star Jerky (homemade jerky)
• Livity (raw organic fudge)
• Jack & the Bean Soup (bean soup mixes)
• Medicine of the People (lip balm and salve)
• Retro Trek (luggage tags and stickers)
• Villa Feliz (flowers and plants)
• TM Design (custom metal fabrication)
• Desert Spice & Chili (organic herbs and spices)
• The Vail Connection (gourds and antique fabrics)
• Terra Verde Farms (spicy condiments)
• Lil’ Sassy’s Salsa (salsas)
• RPMS (preserves, condiments)
• Mama Llamas (empañadas)
• Miracle Munchies (gluten-free baking mixes and cookies)
• Azmira Holistic Animal Care (dog and cat food)
• Naknek Family Fisheries (frozen Alaskan salmon and halibut)