A small market is going into the closed White Cross Drugs spot. Is this as good as downtown grocers will get?

Actually, downtown was once home to several quality grocers. The neon-signed Rancho Supermarket was located at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard for decades—until the city bought it for $475,000 in August 1998 to make way for Neonopolis, and we all know what a fantastic trade-off that was. More recently, when Fresh & Easy invaded Las Vegas, urbanites hoped it would fulfill its “Neighborhood Market” motto and open a downtown store. Like most chains, however, Fresh & Easy foolishly ignored my neighborhood for the suburbs. (Fresh & Easy’s sole city shop, near Charleston Boulevard and Eastern Avenue, closed soon after opening.) There was also the full-size Market Town grocer at Las Vegas and Oakey boulevards, but after decades of operation, it sat vacant for years, followed by the recent closing of its neighbor, White Cross Drugs.

With more people moving downtown, the usual demographic arguments for the lack of a grocery store apply less and less. (Funky regulations, though, are still a disincentive for grocers: In the Arts District, restrictions on package liquor sales originally intended to limit the sale of Mad Dog also make it difficult for new stores to offer microbrews.) The new market on the White Cross site may be a sign of more to come. And Resnicks, the bodega at Soho Lofts, is revamping its selection and pricing to better serve the neighborhood. Sure, some snobs won’t be satisfied unless a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods opens, but aren’t early adopters supposed to rough it a little?

Why can’t we legalize prostitution in Clark County when “escorts” and “private dancers” are such big business?

I can’t score a negroni in a nudie bar unless I hoof it to Northtown, and you want to buy sex itself? Despite the anything-goes image of Las Vegas, few things “go” without the approval of our city’s socially conservative power structure. That, married with the million who moved to “Family Vegas” in the 1990s, makes a modern-day Block 16 a long shot. Besides, with all those card-snappers on the Strip, a nude dancer direct to your room is easy to find and the mini-bar just steps away. Prostitution? Why, whatever are you talking about?

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