Over a week now in Charlotte and I had yet to find a convenient store that was close to my son's place. A place where he could run to in case he forgot something- like milk, for instance. Heading back from Freedom Park on East Blvd., I turned right on Tryon and spotted The Common Market open on a Sunday. That's always convenient. I pulled in. It was just two blocks away from my son's place.
Through the first glass door I was hit with a wall full of postcards, flyers, stickers and signs. It was through the second door that I fell into the rabbit hole. A wonderland of unique brands and local flavor: knick knacks and novelty gifts, retro candy and pop, bottled beer on ice, an eclectic variety of wines, an old school deli counter with fresh cut sandwiches, wraps and grilled paninis, homemade vegan cookies, muffins and house-brewed coffee. Outside, the sun-streaked mood was smooth, and the buzz of conversation steady, as it melted nicely with the folklore of a local musician. No TVs at the Common Market- purposefully. The result is stunning with people looking up and out - not down. How refreshing. The students from the Massage Training Institute were racking in hours and giving free ten minute fixes to anyone who landed in their chairs. That was funny-no stress that I could see. Back inside, hand-crafted café tables supported half-filled sketchbooks, notebooks and novels as patrons sipped their cold beers and red wines as they put to paper their talents. I decided to shop around, after all I'd come for milk. Soon my basket became heavy with that "stuff that you just have to buy" because you either a. never saw it anywhere else or b. you haven't seen it since you were a kid. I had to buy the 100% beef grass-fed jerkey, a nickel bag of CM gluten free coffee beans called booty call, a bar of chocolate covered bacon, a bag of Mama Zuma's Habanero Chips (because the packaging was throwback) and a carton of "WATER IS BETTER IN A BOX" water (because the concept was novel and the packaging perfect). At the counter now, I couldn't pass up the bubble gum cigars, Mary Janes, BB Bats Taffy Suckers, and Just Like Dad Candy Cigarettes. Still looking around and taking it all in as I paid, the cashier asked if that was it. "Yep", I said."No, wait. Milk!" He laughed and went to the back by the deli and brought back a quart of pasture-raised Organic Valley milk from the Langmeier Family Farm, signed by Michael Langmeier. The next day I brought my son in for lunch. We had old-fashioned bottled cokes. He had the Hot Mama Turkey Panini and I had the Tree Hugger Wrap. We sat out back under a Pabst Blue Ribbon umbrella and as he looked around, he nodded his head and agreed that having the Common Market just two blocks down was definitely going to be convenient.
The Common Market is located at 1515 South Tryon Street Charlotte, NC 28203