GWM HubThe Hub Coffee Roasters pioneered Midtown before Midtown was cool (or even “Midtown”).  They pioneered the Daytwa Riverside retail project before anyone else and have been a runaway success.  These guys are geniuses a site selection and understanding market trends.  So when the news hit that they are opening an outpost at the Great Western Marketplace, it gave the project a new legitimacy.

The GWM is planned to be a weekend bazaar of sorts, occupying the old Kmart in NW Reno.  Artisans can rent spaces as small as 10×10 for $400 per month, which works out to about $35 per day of operation.  That might be a little steep for low volume home based businesses like Scrappy Lu, but offers a potentially great 2nd outlet location for existing businesses.  Here is the preliminary project plan.  Cages studios can be combined to create larger spaces.

GWM Plan-page-0 (1)The Pantry/Produce section is pretty interesting (and large) and would be a great addition to the NW retail mix if well populated with great vendors.  I can imagine the closing time deals on Sunday evenings!

What are my fears for the GWM?

–  Location – There is a pretty good reason a national retailer like Kmart flamed out at this site.

–  Access – By the time you see this property, you have already passed it.  If you do try to get up there, access is not intuitive.

–  Critical Mass – GWM can accommodate up to 370 vendors in 167,000 SF.  It won’t be anywhere near full when it opens in May.  I can see the early adopters being disappointed at the opening offerings and not returning.  I’d be offering free space to legitimate businesses to make the project less disappointing on opening day.

–  Marketing – I follow this project closely, and it is almost invisible except self generate Tweets.  I hope the outreach to the retail community has just been under my radar.

But the Hub is in.  That gives me some confidence that this wild ass concept might have legs after all.