Uptown Grocery coming downtown to The Village

Rose Lane
The proprietors of the new Uptown Grocery say The Village city officials were the impetus for the establishment of their second store in the newly-created Tax Increment Financing District along May Avenue.
    Susan and Hank Binkowski closed earlier this week on the site for their new store which was formerly the home of Jackie Cooper BMW. The Village City Council recently created a sales tax TIF there as a way of providing public finance assistance.
    A portion of the sales tax revenue derived from business on the property will be redirected back to the Binkowskis to help defray start-up costs, including acquiring land, site clearing, etc.
“We have to give credit to Bruce Stone, the Village city manager, and his lovely wife.  Bruce has been talking to Hank for years,” Susan Binkowski said.

    On the development side, she said the city has been quick to give responses.
“They have worked with us for months nailing down timelines and helping coordinate all of the leg work that is necessary on the front side of a big investment.”
Binkowski said the community of The Village was very appealing in making the decision to locate here.
    “It’s hard to resist when folks have asked you year after year to make The Village a home for one of your stores,” Binkowski. “I think the timing is right. And, I think the Uptown format is the right one for that unique community.”  
    The formation of the TIF shows The Village was behind them.
“What a TIFF means to us, is that the community that you are investing in, is just as willing to invest in you,” Binkowski said. “They believe that you have what they want and need.”
    Stone called the new Uptown Market a “game changer” for his city. The business will obviously be a big boost to sales tax revenue for the municipality.
    “We’re just really, really excited,” he said.
The Binkowskis, who also own the chain of Buy For Less grocery stores, said much research went into the development of the Uptown concept.
   “We did lots of touring and research before we did the Edmond Uptown store, like our others, and this will be no different,” she said.  “We are even making a run to Toronto, Canada, to see some new fixtures that no one has in the U.S.”
   The Binkowskis hope to open the new Uptown Grocery, which will be approximately 55,000 square feet is size, in early spring 2015.
    “Likely, this depends on how much we vary the internal design to fit the needs of the customer at this location versus our newest store in Edmond,” she said. “It is fun to daydream up something brand new, and keep your favorite layouts from the previous ‘baby.’”
Although it is an “Uptown” store, Binkowski said it will offer Buy For Less prices.
    “We have found that the mix of organic and specialty along with Cheerios, Heinz ketchup and Charmin toilet paper is a good mix,” she said.  “That’s how I want to shop, and that is what you get at Uptown. The best of both. It’s too hard as a working parent myself to do two stops for groceries.”
    The Uptown Market will also offer a chef-prepared deli buffet and event planning and bridal coordination services.
    Binkowski said with the new store will come new jobs.
    “This will be loaded with new jobs,” she said. “So please apply if you are in the ‘people’ business and you like to ‘serve through groceries.’ We are passionate about remembering your name, and pouring love into grocery sacks.”  
    This is Hank Binkowski’s 26 year in the grocery business in Oklahoma. Susan said she appreciates his dedication to the local economy.
    Many of members of the staff have been with Binkowski since day 1.
    “We are truly the ones that have been blessed by the team members and staff of each of the stores,” she said. “They make the core values of our hearts, a reality.”  
    “In each community, they are the CEOs. They decided whether you will come back to our store because you are cared for or whether you will go on down the road. It is to them that we owe any opportunity we are given.”