It’s no secret that Crescent Market, Oklahoma City’s oldest grocery store, has been courted by various downtown developers hoping to bring it back to its historic roots.
At the same time, the store at 6409 Avondale is finding itself squeezed by a changing neighborhood that now includes a Sunflower Market and soon, the city’s first Whole Foods.
Rumors have been swirling for weeks now that Robert Pemberton, owner of Crescent Market, is planning to close in November. I called him last week, and he said then he was not ready to discuss any potential closing. Not a denial. Not a confirmation. Pretty much a “no comment.”
The rumors continued. My editors kept coming back to me asking what the story is. Some fellow reporters suggested a sign on the store’s entrance confirms the closing (it doesn’t – it only reports all customer charge accounts will be closed on Nov. 1).
Several customers also have reported to The Oklahoman they have been told orders for holiday pies are not being accepted because of the pending closing of the store.
Yep. The pressure was on.
Next up; Linda Cavanaugh, anchor at KFOR, went on Twitter today saying the following: “Just confirmed with city official. Nichols Hills icon — Crescent Market — set to close before Thanksgiving.”
It’s the stuff that good reporters do when they’re unable to get a direct source to say what’s going on. Linda, a veteran reporter and someone I respect, appeared to have the story pegged to a credible source.
But there’s a wrinkle in this development. I called up Pemberton again. This time he adamantly denied he’s closing the store.
“That’s wrong,” Pemberton told me this afternoon. “I am not closing.”
Pemberton added he also has no plans to close his store. He could not explain the rumors surrounding his store’s future.
Crescent Market was originally opened as J.L. Wyatt Grocery on April 22, 1889 — the same day Oklahoma City came into being with the Oklahoma Land Run. It went through two sales before being renamed Crescent Grocery in 1906.
I suspect we’ll hear more on this story in the coming weeks.