Business Buzz: Convenience Chi

Niki D'AndreaMarch 26, 2020
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Photo by Carl Schultz
Photo by Carl Schultz

Air Guitar aims to rock the retail-restaurant concept.

Every store wants to charge your credit card, but what kind of convenience store promises to “charge your chi”?

A new shop coming in late 2020 to Agritopia Farm on the red-hot corner of Higley and Ray roads in Gilbert will offer healthful grab-and-go sandwiches, local beer and wine, coffee and sundries side-by-side in a chic, parklike setting. It’s called Air Guitar, and it’s a collaborative concept between restaurateurs Craig and Kris DeMarco of Upward Projects (Postino, Joyride Taco House) and grocery store veterans Eric and Elissa Seitz of Bro Retail Group.

Craig DeMarco describes Air Guitar as “an elevated convenience store experience.” Goods will be locally focused and range from “items that people use every day in a neighborhood” to specialty products and boutique treats.

“It will be run on the same platform as a regular retail store, but we’re going to do beautiful design, an upgraded and innovative product mix, and bring more of a hospitality-based design and aesthetic to it,” DeMarco says.

Phoenix-based Debartolo Architects, which designed Barnone at Agritopia, will create a similar contemporary craftsman community aesthetic at Air Guitar to anchor the area’s imminent residential core, Epicenter.

The name Air Guitar came from a road trip in which the DeMarcos and Seitzes started singing along to a song on the radio, à la the “Bohemian Rhapsody” scene in the movie Wayne’s World.

“You know when you hear that song you love come over the radio and you just can’t help singing and dancing because you’re so happy?” Eric Seitz says. “We really are trying to give you the best experience. We’re going to have the best customer service you could ask for, the best products, and we just want you to feel different than you do in most retail settings.”