Local Mission Market, a high-end grocery store at 23rd and Harrison, closed a couple of months ago — very, very quietly.
This is the third of four storefronts in Yaron Milgrom’s “Local’s” empire to close in the last three years. Local’s Corner, a seafood restaurant, closed in November 2014, and Local Mission Eatery shuttered in December 2015. Only Local’s Cellar, a high-end liquor store, remains.
According to an employee who works at Local Cellar, who asked for anonymity because he wasn’t allowed to discuss details of the closing, the market closed because it wasn’t able to maintain reliable staff and it wasn’t getting enough traffic on all of its locally made, but quickly perishable items.
“People can’t pay a store clerk over $20 an hour, and people can’t live on $20 an hour in this town,” he said, explaining that employees of the market would not show up or would come in late to work.
He also noted that the store was not selling enough of its perishable products, and was forced “throw away a lot.”
The market closed with relatively little mourning from patrons on social media — and not a peep from its own social media accounts, which were last updated in May. Mission Local discovered it closed on Tuesday when I went by to see how turkey sales were going.
Milgrom first opened the Local Mission Eatery in November 2009 to positive reviews, but he quickly opened three other higher-end establishments in a neighborhood already dizzy with rent increases, evictions and an influx of new, wealthier residents.
Local’s Corner, at Bryant and 23rd streets, opened in 2011, but soon became ground zero for many of the neighborhood’s frustrations after the serving staff there encouraged a longtime resident and her friends to dine elsewhere.
It closed in November 2014, and Milgrom said he would focus on the market, but the business conditions were less than optimal. There is little foot traffic on Harrison Street and few places to park, and the market was more a specialty store of crafted food rather than a market for quick purchases of milk or other staples.
The employee said the market is still using the kitchen space for its catering business, and that it has begun leasing its floor space to a community center, although he did not say which one.
He said some of the store’s stock, dry goods and non-perishables are now being sold at Local’s Cellar.
An email sent to Milgrom was not immediately returned.