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ncbrian

What sort of retail does downtown Winston need?

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By fits and starts, downtown Winston is slowly recovering. There has been a fair of office businesses relocating downtown, the hotels are renovated and there are more restaurants and cafes now than there was at the beginning of the year, and residential locations are increasing. What is missing is a vibrant retail sector downtown. There are the arts related businesses at 6th and Trade but there has to be more retail downtown to make it more vibrant especially of the weekday business hours. Invariably, when a new retail business opens up, it is at the Hanes Mall, along Hanes Mall Blvd (especially at the new Little Shoppes developments) or along Stratford.

We need more than the pawn shops downtown.

One problem working against downtown retail is suitable locations. Good storefronts are all scattered along 4th street but to make retail work, you have to make it easy for people to walk from store to store within a short distance. Hence you need to concentrate the stores. Retail stores like being next to other retail stores.

What sort of retail does downtown Winston need?

It is fairly obvious that a downtown grocery is needed to take care of the residents who live downtown like at the Nissen apartments but also for anyone at the hotels who craves a snack but will not find it at the downtown CVS.

An independent music retail/club/showcase store located at 4th and Trade will allow for the bridging of regular retail stores on 4th with the arts stores on Trade.

Perhaps one of the mini-Walmarts/Home Depot stores that are now popping up in other downtowns across America.

A fitness store/ outdoor outfitters will bring in people who are passionate about their hobby and would not mind driving downtown to get the latest gear.

Any more ideas?

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Well this sort of thing needs to be taken in baby step phases. I think what we really need in DT is a grocery store and a bookstore. I really don't think we will see any kind of "solid" or well-known retail until we get all of these residential projects developed and occupied.

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Pick up Andres Duany's book Suburban Nation and read the section about how downtowns can learn from mall management. Mostly, this has to do with keeping things clean and tidy and maintaining a good merchant mix.

So what goes in the mix?

A grocery store is near the top of the list. In 2-3 years, the grocery will do quite well with all the residential going in. My ideal store to recruit would be Weaver Street Market, but they are pretty locally focused in Orange County.

A Wal-mart/Home Depot big box store is not remotely on the list. Winston should be focused on what makes it unique, not what makes it like everywhere else. If you've got to have chain stores downtown, get coffee houses and bookstores, which become "third places" where people congregate and spend time.

With restaurant row, there are many places to dine, but what do you do afterwards? You can go to the Garage. You can go to the Stevens Center if there is a performance. You can go to Films on Fourth there if there are showings. An indy record store would do well (good browsing/streetlife potential).

Finally, something like Powell Mercantile would be great.

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It would be great to have a shopping mall downtown, even if small, but with nationally known stores. I'm not sure the demographics are ready for that yet, but maybe soon? I am fairly sure that a supermarket/grocery store will be at West End Village (just starting construction), but I'm not sure which phase. Don't forget too that Barnes & Noble was to put a major store in the Southeast Gateway (between Old Salem and NCSA), but the deal fell through because of some issue with Wake Forest - too bad.

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Plenty of coffeehouses already downtown though only Chelsee's is open beyond weekday hours. Not sure about the new Starbucks at the Embassy Suites.

A good quality used bookstore with an attached cafe and newstand could do well; Edward McKay on Oakwood if they ever decide to relocate would be a good candidate.

Would a general store serving downtown residents get enough business to survive?

One thing to be avoided early on are consignment stores for clothes and other items, except books, as they are more suited for bohemiam type neighbourhoods like the Arts District.

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Plenty of coffeehouses already downtown though only Chelsee's is open beyond weekday hours. Not sure about the new Starbucks at the Embassy Suites.

A good quality used bookstore with an attached cafe and newstand could do well; Edward McKay on Oakwood if they ever decide to relocate would be a good candidate.

Would a general store serving downtown residents get enough business to survive?

One thing to be avoided early on are consignment stores for clothes and other items, except books, as they are more suited for bohemiam type neighbourhoods like the Arts District.

If you don't mind me asking, what's wrong with having a consignment store? And in this I don't mean a Goodwill but one you would find over on Hawthorne or Reynolda. Anyway I think we need more hybrid stores downtown. Meaning, places where you can stop in and get a cup of coffee or a smoothie and purchase items you would not reguraly find in common stores. A perfect example of this would be a store I found up in DT Mount Airy where you could buy items such as outdoor gear, North Face and Columbia Equipment and clothes, and really neat nick nacks.

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If you don't mind me asking, what's wrong with having a consignment store? And in this I don't mean a Goodwill but one you would find over on Hawthorne or Reynolda. Anyway I think we need more hybrid stores downtown. Meaning, places where you can stop in and get a cup of coffee or a smoothie and purchase items you would not reguraly find in common stores. A perfect example of this would be a store I found up in DT Mount Airy where you could buy items such as outdoor gear, North Face and Columbia Equipment and clothes, and really neat nick nacks.

If the store is laid out and managed like a regular retail store, I do not have much a problem but many consignment stores for clothing and knick knacks I have gone to in many cities I have lived especially have a rough look to them and have a haphazard layout and management style. Those stores are fine with me and usually they are those kind of stores that many places treat as a secret pleasure known only to locals and located a bit off the beaten path. But for downtown Winston ie 4th street, I am looking at more of a middle class type of stores that bring people downtown for regular shopping not occasional type of shopping.

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I think we have a nice varied selction of retail downtown. We have a bike shop that I frequent often, some place called "Contemporary" that sells furniture and other sorts, a pharmacy, art stores, bars, jazz clubs, and a nice variety of restaurants. It's just we need more of the extras that make it perfect.

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How about an urban street mall similar to Minneapolis' Nicollet Mall that is mostly on the street, but also connected inside via skywalks? Upscale stores like Nordstrom and Urbanoutfitters would be on the mall, but also local stores, clubs, and restaurants. Transit, rail or bus, would go down the middle of the mall.

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I was in Winston Salem yesterday, and visited the Whole Foods Market on Miller. I realize it isnt in the heart of downtown, but is is mighty close....That is the type of Grocery Store I could actually imagine doing well in that type environment...that also might would draw folks into the downtown area that might otherwise avoid it.

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I'd like to see an outsider like Earth Fare, Trader Joe's, or Publix step in and give us a variety. I think Earth Fare would be our best bet. But I don't know whether or not they specialize in urban stores. If they were, then I have the perfect spot for them, 2nd and Marshall. You know my father use to work for Calloway Johnson Moore and West, who was going to design the whole Unity Place complex, and Harris Teeter had negotiations with them about setting up a store at the corner of Brookstown and Burke, da*n Scott Livengood! :angry: Panera Bread should open up somewhere on 4th.

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^2nd and marshall would be a nice place for a grocery store. actually, i think the sawtooth building would make a perfect conversion to retail once the galleries move out. its hard to imagine it as a concert hall.

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Someone said that Georgetown should be the model for West End. I like thinking big.

How about a huge entertainment and games complex like Dave and Busters downtown?

I have gone to a Dave and Busters before and they do draw a crowd of all types (Families, singles, groups) but they are built for the suburbs with plenty of parking.

Still, the emphasis in this thread is retail for downtown not entertainment which right now is able to hold its own while the planners concentrate on diversifying the mix of businesses downtown.

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I'd like to see more concerts in downtown. Performers like Kanye West, country stars, and maybe even Elton John since he seems to have a fetish for Winston. I think it would be totally awesome if they were to perform right in downtown (Stevens Center or future Ampitheater). One thing I have always comaplined about downtown Winston is that we need more parks and open spaces. Corpening Plaza just isn't doing it anymore. I want a place where I can lay down on a big plain of grass and have a place where I can jog or ride my bike without worrying about getting hit by a car. I perfect description of this would be hanes Park over by Reynolds High.

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I'd like to see more concerts in downtown. Performers like Kanye West, country stars, and maybe even Elton John since he seems to have a fetish for Winston. I think it would be totally awesome if they were to perform right in downtown (Stevens Center or future Ampitheater). One thing I have always comaplined about downtown Winston is that we need more parks and open spaces. Corpening Plaza just isn't doing it anymore. I want a place where I can lay down on a big plain of grass and have a place where I can jog or ride my bike without worrying about getting hit by a car. I perfect description of this would be hanes Park over by Reynolds High.

Well, if they ever build the new baseball stadium downtown near Peter's Creek, it could double as a concert venue. If not built, then the natural bowl shape of the area makes it an ideal location for an amplitheater.

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Well, if they ever build the new baseball stadium downtown near Peter's Creek, it could double as a concert venue. If not built, then the natural bowl shape of the area makes it an ideal location for an amplitheater.

Doubtful they will do that Brian. Some guy I use to know had corporate relations with the man who wanted to develop that site, Billy Primm. He told me that that Billy just said he was going to do that so that he could give his company, Blue Rhino, some publicity. Plus it would be too expensive to fill in the area so that it could be level for construction.

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A nice long term goal for downtown Winston retail might be taken from King St. in Charleston, SC. Many national chain retail stores (which is what Downtown Winston needs to help solidify its "revitalized" status) lined up right next to each other; one might call it an outdoor mall look. More restaurants will follow where the people shop. I don't know if 4th street can handle being "retail row" and "restaurant row", so maybe a another street zone can designated and special arrangements worked out for retailers as was done on 4th street for restaurants. It can be done, the vision just has to be captured by the right people with influence. Also (this is the interesting part) the mind set of the Winston shopper has to be transformed from Hanes Mall Blvd is THE place to shop. I think having neat, organized, national chain shopping with the ability to get into downtown and easily find parking (it's free at Hanes Mall) will help nudge the winston crowd in the right direction.

As far as green space, the little bit worked into the Pepper building plan is a good start, but we do need a larger green space with performance space built into the plan. Not sure where it would fit on the downtown map, but it would be nice (i.e. Finlay Park in Columbia, SC). Finlay is a large green space with a pond, large stage, childrens park, cafe on site, walking trail and is subsequently home to one of the largest music festivals in the southeast each year.

Also, maybe an idea for downtown Winston to add to the retail/entertainment segment. Winston has a "mini Empire State building"; why not take off on that and have a mini Times Square. A few new theaters can open up, some more retail and restaurants right in the Time Square district (maybe Liberty/5th/6th/Main st area, i donno). Nice glamorous signs, bustling street with people just leaving the theatre on the way to the restaurant.

OK, so that's the retail plan, now lets go tell the other 190,000 people in Winston so they can get stores downtown and start going to them.

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A nice long term goal for downtown Winston retail might be taken from King St. in Charleston, SC. Many national chain retail stores (which is what Downtown Winston needs to help solidify its "revitalized" status) lined up right next to each other; one might call it an outdoor mall look. More restaurants will follow where the people shop. I don't know if 4th street can handle being "retail row" and "restaurant row", so maybe a another street zone can designated and special arrangements worked out for retailers as was done on 4th street for restaurants. It can be done, the vision just has to be captured by the right people with influence. Also (this is the interesting part) the mind set of the Winston shopper has to be transformed from Hanes Mall Blvd is THE place to shop. I think having neat, organized, national chain shopping with the ability to get into downtown and easily find parking (it's free at Hanes Mall) will help nudge the winston crowd in the right direction.

As far as green space, the little bit worked into the Pepper building plan is a good start, but we do need a larger green space with performance space built into the plan. Not sure where it would fit on the downtown map, but it would be nice (i.e. Finlay Park in Columbia, SC). Finlay is a large green space with a pond, large stage, childrens park, cafe on site, walking trail and is subsequently home to one of the largest music festivals in the southeast each year.

Also, maybe an idea for downtown Winston to add to the retail/entertainment segment. Winston has a "mini Empire State building"; why not take off on that and have a mini Times Square. A few new theaters can open up, some more retail and restaurants right in the Time Square district (maybe Liberty/5th/6th/Main st area, i donno). Nice glamorous signs, bustling street with people just leaving the theatre on the way to the restaurant.

OK, so that's the retail plan, now lets go tell the other 190,000 people in Winston so they can get stores downtown and start going to them.

I like it! :thumbsup:

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I like it! :thumbsup:

Don Julio, I like the "mini times square" idea. DC's Chinatown is undergoing an amibitious transformation into a type of Times Square right now, and is looking very good right now. Winston might want to use DC's Chinatown as an example. Also, how about getting WXII or one of the tv stations to put a street level studio downtown? A big electronic billboard would be great as the centerpiece of the entertainment and shopping district.

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Do you know the guy who desinged the big Panasonic plasma tv in Times Square lives right here in Winston! Plus that same man is my great uncle.

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A nice long term goal for downtown Winston retail might be taken from King St. in Charleston, SC. Many national chain retail stores (which is what Downtown Winston needs to help solidify its "revitalized" status) lined up right next to each other; one might call it an outdoor mall look. More restaurants will follow where the people shop. I don't know if 4th street can handle being "retail row" and "restaurant row", so maybe a another street zone can designated and special arrangements worked out for retailers as was done on 4th street for restaurants. It can be done, the vision just has to be captured by the right people with influence. Also (this is the interesting part) the mind set of the Winston shopper has to be transformed from Hanes Mall Blvd is THE place to shop. I think having neat, organized, national chain shopping with the ability to get into downtown and easily find parking (it's free at Hanes Mall) will help nudge the winston crowd in the right direction.

As far as green space, the little bit worked into the Pepper building plan is a good start, but we do need a larger green space with performance space built into the plan. Not sure where it would fit on the downtown map, but it would be nice (i.e. Finlay Park in Columbia, SC). Finlay is a large green space with a pond, large stage, childrens park, cafe on site, walking trail and is subsequently home to one of the largest music festivals in the southeast each year.

Also, maybe an idea for downtown Winston to add to the retail/entertainment segment. Winston has a "mini Empire State building"; why not take off on that and have a mini Times Square. A few new theaters can open up, some more retail and restaurants right in the Time Square district (maybe Liberty/5th/6th/Main st area, i donno). Nice glamorous signs, bustling street with people just leaving the theatre on the way to the restaurant.

OK, so that's the retail plan, now lets go tell the other 190,000 people in Winston so they can get stores downtown and start going to them.

honestly, if i were you, i would present this idea to DWSP or at least mail a detailed concept to the board. Im sure they are very open to new ideas. Wow...a mini NYC.

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Don Julio, I like the "mini times square" idea. DC's Chinatown is undergoing an amibitious transformation into a type of Times Square right now, and is looking very good right now. Winston might want to use DC's Chinatown as an example. Also, how about getting WXII or one of the tv stations to put a street level studio downtown? A big electronic billboard would be great as the centerpiece of the entertainment and shopping district.

For the new Trader's Row development on Trade St, one of the new occupants is a sports marketing firm that does video work and from what I read, they will have one of their studios at street level so that passerbys can see what is happening. Let's hope it follows through.

This can be a tremendous draw for people.In Toronto where I once lived, there is a edgy urban television station, CityTv, that had a street level studio where hosts of various shows could open the windows and interact with people on the street. I do not know whether Winston is ready for that kind of television station given how conservative at heart most of the viewership is but one thing they had was Speakers Corner which was a video booth where anyone can drop in and give an opinion on video on whatever topic interests them. If they are lucid enough, the clip showed up on a later newscast or entertainment show.

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