Move over New York City’s Dean & Deluca – San Diego will soon have a homegrown upscale convenience store chain, too.
Matthew Power, an Encinitas native, is scheduled to open MRKTSPACE, an elevated grocery store experience in May 2021. The 3,100 square foot gourmet market will include a café and a bar and will be located inside the Beacons, a mixed-use development on North coast Highway 101.
The opening will mark MRKTSPACE’s first foray into the U.S. market, said Power; In 2018, he launched the inaugural MRKTSPACE location in the Leighton Beach area of his hometown of Australia.
Reinvent and Elevate Convenience
“What I’m trying to do is reinvent and elevate convenience,” said Power, who has one business partner who jointly funded the company. “We offer the highest quality products we can find in the market – that is the biggest goal of ours. In order to scale down the supermarket experience, we eliminate the quantity of brands and focus on representing several of the better ones. We say to the customer: let us choose the products for you. When you come in, you have a choice of up to three of the best brands available. It’s a curated shopping experience in a stylish environment.”
MRKTSPACE will include fresh, organic and vegan food items like eggs, wine, cheese, cured meat and chocolates, said Power. It will serve an all-day menu of Italian-inspired dishes and bakery items such as pastries, cakes, croissants, biscuits and muffins. There will also be a full bar with wine, beer and spirits.
MRKTSPACE will also feature a café where patrons can get an espresso and other prepared coffee variations. At lunch time, those that work nearby can grab a sandwich while having a small team meeting at the 16-foot “experience table”. Late afternoon, locals can stop by and meet a friend for a meat and cheese board. On the way out, they can grab a bottle of wine or oatmeal for the morning.
This is Power’s vision.
“It’s a daily social experience for people that eliminates them having to go to larger supermarkets,” he said. “It is about convenience and creating a space people go to twice, maybe three times a day. A place where people can relax, meet and see people in the community.”
Paul Ahern, principal at Next Wave Commercial, represented both MRKTSPACE and the Beacons in the deal. He said the building owner was originally looking to lease the space out to two separate businesses. But when MRKTSPACE came along, they knew it was the right fit.
“The owner wanted something with a beer and wine component and some light food offerings but was concerned with a full-food concept because of the smell and the residential tenants,” he said. “When Matt came along, it checked a lot of the boxes the owner was looking for.”
50% Uptick in Sales
The Encinitas MRKTSPACE will employ up to 50 people, said Power. While it is too soon to share annual revenue projections, he said the Australia store has seen a 50% uptick in sales since COVID-19. This may be attributed to the high-quality selection of items at the shop, especially as people have become more concerned with their health and wellness since the pandemic.
Once the Encinitas spot is up and running, Power hopes to open five or six more MRKTSPACE locations throughout San Diego County. Some of the areas he’s considering are La Jolla, downtown and La Mesa, he said. He added that he is strategically planning for real estate-driven partnerships for the growth and expansion plan of the project. In essence, Power hopes to partner with property owners and landlords for the opening of future stores.
“In every community, there is demand for an elevated experience,” he said. “What we are looking to do is eliminate the hassle of going and finding parking at big parking lots, using shopping carts, getting on lines, especially during COVID if you only need to get a bottle of wine, cheese, crackers and pate before your friends arrive for dinner or on your way to a dinner party for which you have been asked to bring hors d’oeuvres.”
Down the line, Power plans to take MRKTSPACE national. He is also working on an app that will streamline the ordering process and allow customers to purchase online for in-store pick-up or at-home delivery.