Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Going Downtown

I'm aware this may only be of interest to those in Glen Rock, but I have to put it out there...and maybe it sort of goes for all small towns with a walking downtown area.

All I know is that I've started drinking coffee lately because I'm tired. I'm hoping it helps wake me up, and I like getting the steps in on my Fitbit by walking down the street to Starbucks. Yes, I support Starbucks. Not for any reason except that I don't really LIKE coffee. I like a "Tall iced skinny vanilla latte with two splenda, light on the ice". Until someone else starts making that, Starbucks it is. Otherwise, I can't stomach coffee.

I walk by all the businesses on the way to Starbucks which is a block down and pretty much half of our downtown here. There has been a problem with too many unoccupied storefronts. There are two more trafficked Glen Rock pages on Facebook and this lack of business has been a topic numerous times. People are always saying what "should" go in the downtown but unless you're actually opening a business, it doesn't really matter what you think should go there. People complain- because that's pretty much what these pages are- what I like to call "bitch pages". Same people, complaining about everything and nothing and then some. But sometimes, in addition to the complaining, there is also spirited conversation, like about the downtown.

People complain every time a new business comes in because it's another this or that. While the constant barrage of negativity gets on my very last nerve, there is a total weirdness to our downtown. What I mean is that there seems to be this strange phenomenon I'm not sure happens so much in other downtowns that are the same size as ours. For example- one tutoring place opened on Rock Rd. Either Kumon or Mathnasium. I'm not sure which opened first, but now there are both. I went to get my coffee today, walked out of my store, and almost walked into a sandwich board sign for "JEI Learning Center" which is yet another tutoring place. I looked at the details and apparently, it's now open in the back of the parking lot of where my store is located. I get it- the back building here has turned into a total kid-zone which is actually pretty awesome. Music For Aardvarks, Naturally Yoga, Moonlight Ballroom, Gary Stevens Martial Arts, are already back there and all either are kid-centric activities or have classes for kids. Tutoring seems like it would be a great fit because maybe you have one in a music class and the other in tutoring. Seems convenient.

Why do I say there is a weird phenomenon? Because I just don't understand why we need THREE. Three of essentially the same thing. It's not really the landlords- I guess they could be more selective when renting as to rent to more unique businesses or businesses that don't have such strong competition. But they have to pay their mortgages and such so they're going to rent to whoever wants to rent, within reason. I don't see someone opening a Romantic Depot or smoke shop in town. I could be wrong, but I just don't see it happening in this town.

So what makes someone come to Glen Rock, look up and down our small strip of businesses essentially two long blocks, and say, "You know, they already have two nails salons, and EIGHT hair salons that offer other beauty services. I think we should open another nail/hair/spa here! Perfect location!". Two of the hair salons are right next to each other! As in, it took me a few years to realize they weren't actually the same salon. But, EIGHT! Eight. Bellula, Fausto Pellegrino, Hair Station, Highlights & Hair Design, Iconic Barber Shop, Little Joe & John's, Salon Rocks, and Sasha. Just to name them. In case you need some kind of hair issue today. There is a new nail & spa opening where Jim Bush Insurance used to be, next to where Tasti D'Lite (then The Lite Choice) just went out. I just can't imagine seeing eight similar businesses and then the two nail salons- 4U Nails and Janet's Nails, and thinking it would be a great idea to open something close to the same. Yet, most of them have been in business for a LONG time, most from at least when I moved here like eight years ago. So I guess Glen Rock is full of hair that needs to be cut, coiffed, colored, etc. I do know that patrons of the town businesses are also super loyal, for the most part, except the complainy-complainers. *You know who you are* I shouldn't be surprised these places are still hopping.

It just seems like the trend in this town, for some reason, is that one genre of business opens- two more of basically the same thing, pop up really quickly. We have three delicatessens. We had more though. There is Gianella's Italian Deli & Bakery, Wilke's Deli, and Trackside Deli (which I think was Town Deli before). There is also Rock Kitchen but I don't know if they'd consider themselves a deli, but you CAN get a deli sandwich there. Three or four dry cleaners. Two tailors. Four banks but used to be five- Glen Rock Savings, Boiling Springs, Valley National, Bank of America. Chase moved. Two jewelry stores (real, not costume). I've now pretty much told you the entire downtown.

Except we do have a few randoms, Stars Hollow type places which are pretty unique. Us- Shades of Soho- custom/boutique lighting all made by us. The grandfather clock guy- The Village Time Keeper, the vacuum repair shop, the fortune teller (what? yes, that's what I said), gift shop Verdi Blue, the kid's bookstore, The Curious Reader & the toy store- The Grow-cery. And not to be left out, we're now getting a veterinary storefront- Glen Rock Vet. I find this fascinating. I've never seen a vet as part of a retail strip but I actually think it's kind of cool. What would be even cooler would be if someone capitalized on that and took the place next door to it which is empty and made some kind of pet related business- a groomer, a pet accessories store, etc. I have to run to Petco every time I need Betta fish related stuff. I'd much rather patronize somewhere downtown and I only have one fish. I feel like everyone in this town has a dog. It would probably be a goldmine. Now watch someone does it based off my prediction and it becomes like Babu with the Pakistani restaurant on Seinfeld.

There are still a decent amount of empty spaces. Obviously, no one can control what goes in or out or where. From the FB pages, there are plenty of opinions so since I have my own forum, I'm going to put mine out there into the blogosphere. I'm holding out for some kind of adult/women's boutique or consignment store. Consignment of adult or kids. Ridgewood has three consignment stores. We have none. I'd also love to see a salad place. Like a Chopped, Salad Works, something. I don't care who the "brand" of salad is- but just salads. Well, if this is a wishlist, I'd really die for a PAX (they're in NYC). Ridgewood couldn't sustain their Salad Works, but who knows why. Maybe it was rent? Maybe there are too many food choices in Ridgewood. Now that Tasti D'Lite is out, we're pretty much the only town without some kind of frozen yogurt. 16 Handles? Anyone? Bueller?

We had a children's clothing store when I moved here. But it went out pretty quickly I think. I don't get it. Sports equipment? Sports equipment consignment? With all these local selling boards on Facebook, obviously there is a market for used everything. But instead of no-shows, misrepresenting items and frustration, someone, SOMEONE, open a consignment store of something!

Antiques? Kid play space? I don't know. Like the rest of the people, I'm just throwing out ideas. I already have a store. And it's one of the more niche things. So I'm already doing my job of helping diversify the downtown. Maybe someone will see one on my wishlist that will spark something. *hopeful thinking*

Shades of Soho: https://www.facebook.com/shadesofsoho

Gary Stevens Taekwondo: https://www.facebook.com/GSTKD236

The Grow-Cery: https://www.facebook.com/GrowCery

The Curious Reader: https://www.facebook.com/thecuriousreaderbooks

Verdi Blu: https://www.facebook.com/VerdiBluCreates

The Village Timekeeper: http://www.thevillagetimekeeper.com/

Giannella's Italian Deli & Bakery: https://www.facebook.com/Giannellas/timeline

Trackside Deli: http://www.yelp.com/biz/trackside-deli-glen-rock

Wilkes Delicatessen: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wilkes-Center-Delicatessen/120681284616032

Little Joe & John's: https://www.facebook.com/LittleJoeandJohns

Highlights & Hair Design: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Highlights-N-Hair-Design/165960870102870

Bellula: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bellula/303893606129

Iconic Barber Shop: https://www.facebook.com/iconicbarbershopnj

Sasha: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sasha-Hair-and-Day-Spa/165499833522303

Fausto Pellegrino Hair Design: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pellegrino-Hair-Design/147898465230956

Salon Rocks: https://www.facebook.com/salonsalonglenrock

4U Nails: https://www.facebook.com/pages/4-U-Nails-Spa/154455744566860

Glen Rock Vacuum Repair: http://glenrockvacuum.com/site/

Music For Aardvarks: http://www.ahummusic.com

Kumon: http://www.kumon.com/centerepage/home.aspx?p1=f3305990-4654-4578-a250-f174cacfb2b6&p2=1&p3=glen-rock

Mathnasium: http://www.mathnasium.com/glenrock

JEI: http://glenrock.jeilearning.com/

Naturally Yoga: http://www.naturallyyoga.com

Moonlight Ballroom: http://moonlightdancestudio.org/

Alfred Jewelers: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alfred-Jewelers/113714485359980

Taylormade Jewelers: https://www.facebook.com/taylormadejewelers

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