Photos by Madeline Pado
Downtown Phoenix’s Urban Grocery and Wine Bar revealed a mural painted on the side of its building and offered guests birthday-themed treats to celebrate its second birthday Wednesday evening.
The new mural, which shows a colorful hand holding a sprout over the Phoenix skyline, represents change.
“We wanted to bring the community together and inspire change,” said Natalie Morris, public-events manager for Urban Grocery, which is on Pierce Street near Central Avenue.
The mural artist, Joseph “Sentrock” Perez, presented his ideas on the Phoenix Public Market’s website and received the most votes to create the mural.
“It symbolizes community,” Perez said. “It shows putting your hands to work through nonprofit and growing food and community.”
In addition to the mural unveiling, guests were given free cupcakes in honor of the anniversary, and Sweet Republic offered a special birthday-cake-flavored ice cream.
Urban Grocery faced hard times opening in a rough economy.
“We are still worried about closing,” Morris said. “Everyone is.”
She said the excitement of the community is what keeps pushing her to continue her work.
Owner Cindy Gentry said Urban Grocery opened when many banks were closing, which made obtaining funds difficult.
The Phoenix Public Market began using the building for the Urban Grocery as office space 18 months before they could finish its interior and open it to the public. This was due to Community Food Connections, the nonprofit in charge of the Phoenix Public Market, not having enough money to finish the inside of the Urban Grocery and Wine Bar building, Gentry said.
“We received grants and loans after talking to every bank in the town,” she said. “We are very lucky.”
Despite economic problems and recent construction keeping people away, Gentry said she has high hopes for the next year. She said she wants to see the cafe come up with more great recipes for customers and hopes for people to further understand the variety of Arizona’s wines and beers.
The Phoenix Public Market originally was planned in three phases. The first two, the open-air market and the Urban Grocery, have been completed. The final phase is an eventual five- to seven-day-per-week farmers market. Community Food Connections has a 15-year program to establish the Public Market as a permanent market in Phoenix.
“This is a market that wants to happen,” Gentry said.
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