White Cross, which opened July 2013 on the corner of South Las Vegas and East Oakey boulevards, will shutter December 15 before midnight. The market is known for its impressive deli and craft beer selection, and gave the Naked City and John S. Park neighborhoods a convenient place to grocery shop.
“We invested a lot of money into it and it just didn’t work out,” says co-owner Rimon Hirmiz. “It’s not pretty.”
On its penultimate day of business, shoppers were ransacking White Cross Market for its wine and beer offerings. Some shelves were already empty, with its deli almost bare (sandwiches are no longer being made). All beer, wine and grocery items are 50 percent off, with liquors 35 percent off until the store closes.
Vickie’s Diner, the adjacent 24-hour greasy spoon that operates independently of White Cross, will remain open.
Up on Carson Street, O Face Doughnuts is business as usual, smelling like doughnuts and fresh coffee as Black Sabbath plays loudly on the speakers. Owner Sonny Ahuja, who opened O Face in April 2014, wants to stay open throughout December, if possible, as he helps his team find new jobs. There is no closing date at this point.
“I don’t want to blame it on the neighborhood but the reality is this business model, the way it sits, needs more people,” says Ahuja, who also successfully runs Bin 702 in Container Park. “It’s premature for the neighborhood … I knew it was ahead of the curve but I didn’t think we would struggle as much as we did.“
As the dust is settling it is uncertain what pastry chef Crystal Whitford has planned, but Ahuja is considering relocating, possibly in Chinatown or maybe even Downtown again in the future. He says he would continue to work with Whitford if the project is resurrected.
“It is important for me for people to understand because this business model is premature for Downtown, it doesn’t mean that we should be giving up on Downtown,” he says. “Certain things work and certain things don’t … We think that there is an opportunity to come back. When there is more housing and there is more residential, then for sure we will revisit down here again.”