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SCENES

Say hello to MoCo Market


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"We welcome Travel-freaks, Techy-geeks, Fashionistas, Music-nerds, Product-snobs, Winos, Microbrew-heads, and most importantly, Food-orgiers (modern twist on those who love food and dinner parties). Whether you are one or all of these, MoCo Market will serve you modern convenience."

And it will start doing so on Monday, April 2.

What's MoCo Market? If you've wandered down Willy Street in the last couple of months, you may have noticed ongoing work on a storefront located just up the road from the old Madison Candy Company building (home to Ground Zero and Eldorado). Located in the ground-floor retail space beneath the Livingston condos at the corner of Williamson and Livingston, MoCo Market is a specialty food, beer, wine, media and gadgetry shop created to provide "a cutting edge choice for urban dwellers craving a fresh, healthy alternative to fast food and ho-hum prepackaged options."

MoCo is a portmanteau (think "SoHo," "SoCo" or "Texarkana") for "Modern Convenience," which is also the launchpad for a set of four slogans intended to enhance and complement the lifestyle of its patrons: "Modern," "Convenience," "Community," and "Connection," that is, a well-oiled third place. In fact, the market also comes armed with three more cardinal ideas: its mission ("Arouse and equip the life of the urban dweller"), vision ("Suppress the suburbanite sprawl"), and ethos ("An environment and employee sustainability strategy").

With its sleek lines, blond wood and polished metal surfaces, the market is LEED registered and Wisconsin's first member of the Green Restaurant Association, a trade group organized around the concept of creating an "ecologically sustainable restaurant industry." MoCo is indeed going to be a place to grab a bite to eat, with breakfast (bagels, yogurt parfaits, fruit sushi), lunch (soup and salad) and dinner (fresh sushi) available for eating in or taking out, along with a self-serve coffee bar.

This contemporary general store catering "to those who commute to work on their bike, their feet or mass transit" will offer much more on its shelves, including groceries, health & beauty supplies, beer and wine, the latest "must-have" CDs, periodicals, and gadgets. This latter category will rotate on a monthly basis, with planned themes including bicycles, camping, pets, and hipster parents, complete with plans for accompanying promotional posters created by local artists. The theme for April is travel.

This is a very high-concept idea, albeit one that could take off if its niche responds.

MoCo Market will also feature an outdoor eating area, free Wi-Fi, and potentially a space for visiting dogs, fulfilling city hopes for mixed use on the 800 block of Willy Street, which was formerly occupied by a long-unused Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company beer depot.

"Megan Ramey, the owner, feels like there is an underserved and growing market of young urbanites, who would rather walk or bike their way to their neighborhood market than drive to a sterile, big-box grocery store" is how MoCo Market is described on its MySpace page, that online paragon of counter-monoculture. Artist renderings of the market's interior design can also be found in its virtual space for friends.

With its grand opening rapidly approaching, MoCo is ramping up its advertising, including a commercial (aired during Wednesday night's broadcast of The Daily Show, for starters). It was created by UW student and filmmaker Niko Pueringer, and is set to the song "Brass Ring" by the indie-rock quartet The Broken West. This spot follows:


Following its debut on Monday, April 2, MoCo Market will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. A grand opening is being planned for early summer. More information about the modern convenience store can be found at (608) 251-MOCO or at mocomarket.com.


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