Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Small Town USA

B was just walking in our downtown and came back. He was remarking on what cool little "old-time" niche businesses we have in Glen Rock. He mentioned that Books, Bytes & Beyond is going out of business. Then yesterday we saw the announcement from Rony Alvarado of Rony's Rock Burger that he's going out of business after this weekend. It's sad. We're losing the little guys. We actually haven't had too many vacancies in the downtown in awhile. There are definitely a few but I can only think of approximately five street level empties. Now there will be more. It was like that when we first moved to town in 2006 and when we moved the store here in 2009. The cool thing is that we have stuff most places don't have. There is a psychic reader, a grandfather clock seller/repair person, a store that still repairs sewing machines and vacuum cleaners, we make lampshades and lighting, and then some other small mom & pop shops that you don't see just anywhere.

There are very few chain places here. We have Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, CVS, Subway, and I think that's it. Everything else is a family business. Beekman's Liquors, Kilroys Wondermarket, and some restaurants, tailors, banks, and delis. The problem is that the vacancies seem to be oddly taken by office space. I don't know why anyone would need office space on the street except a realtor. There was an insurance guy but he's been out for awhile. I saw nj.com filled a space that's been vacant since we moved here in 2006. It was a huge bank. It would've been awesome if a restauant, like a diner, went there. We don't have one and there is space next to it that could've been great for outdoor seating. But no restaurant thought to go in there, couldn't, or didn't know about it. Offices don't revitalize a downtown though. No one gets excited about offices. I mean, don't get me wrong- Welcome nj.com. It's just weird for an office to be in a retail space where everyone just walks by and...watches them work at their desk? I just wish something a little more retail or food went in there. Just for my own personal enjoyment and to bring people into town to shop and eat.

We also have a ticket broker. Who knew people didn't just buy tickets online? There is also no shortage of hair salons. I think there are five. And like five deli places. Two nail places. One sushi & one separate Asian Fusion. One hamburger place (that's now going out of business). Three or four dry cleaners, A yoga studio, a karate dojo, and a ballroom dance studio. We still have a toy store that isn't a chain store. Peppered in there are some doctors, lawyers and real estate offices.

It's not a big downtown but it is a walking downtown where the tweens and teens congregate, parents stroll strollers, and people walk to and from the two trains in the center of town. I just hope some of these empty spaces get filled as soon as possible with good retail or food. There is nothing more depressing than looking at empty store spaces. I'm sad about the kids bookstore. They are a rarity, I know, because of the internet and the big book sellers, but it just gave the downtown a nice feel to it. And this town is full of kids. I don't know how a kid based business could fail here! There used to be a children's boutique here too and that also went out. Hopefully the next crop of new businesses here can do better!

Support local businesses!

**I apologize, spell check is broken for now**

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