Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

adrockc2

Nightlife vs. Retail

50 posts in this topic


This is definitely a good coffee house topic. I viewed the WYFF 4 story yesterday and was a bit shocked that Bentley's Bookstore may not linger much longer as a result of the restaurants and bars. I would like to see some of the recently-vacated storefronts filled with unique new retail. That would help to strengthen the current weaknesses being felt. More residents moving into the new Main Street condos should help as well. I hope the problem will eventually disappear entirely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to see a bookshop/cafe/piano bar on Main Street. I think one would not do bad. Another idea I have is a unique children's bookshop on Main Street. A nice location would be in the vacant space at Wachovia Place next to Pink Azalea.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i would love to see a traditional English pub downtown....not an americanized version but the real deal...menu and all. That was one of the best things about our trip to London was pub food, yeah bars here serve food but it's not the same....we're talking about full on dinner not just a crappy burger or chicken fingers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think downtown desperately needs more retail. Especially in the N. Main area if it is to remain viable. What we need is a Gap or something similar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if there is going to be more retail downtown it needs to be something everyday people will buy and can afford....like Gap, Borders and that type of thing right now there is just nothing down there i will buy...don't shop at Mast general store nver been into Pink Azaela and while i like what they sell i can't afford anything at Venti...so let's bring in less specialty shops or at least one or two average joe type stores and maybe shopping can increase downtown. -just my 2 cents-

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if there is going to be more retail downtown it needs to be something everyday people will buy and can afford....like Gap, Borders and that type of thing right now there is just nothing down there i will buy...don't shop at Mast general store nver been into Pink Azaela and while i like what they sell i can't afford anything at Venti...so let's bring in less specialty shops or at least one or two average joe type stores and maybe shopping can increase downtown. -just my 2 cents-

I agree- I can buy an overpriced vase or something on Main Street but not just a regular T-shirt. Hopefully the County Square redevelopment will attract some normal chains, like a regular department store.

No surprise to me about Bentley's Bookstore possibly vacating. That place seems absolutely dead, despite having a thriving Mast General Store in the same block. Shows that the merchandise, not the location, just doesn't work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I really hope Bentley's can stay. There will always be a market for books, they just need more foot traffic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I owned one of the buildings downtown, and it were a purely economic decision, I would go for the bar/restaurant rent vs. the retail rent. It does not make sense to cost yourself money to subsidize someone else's business.

Totally agree with Charlie on the price of things. The specialized shops are pricing themselves out of being a destination for shoppers. A mix of more middle of the road pricing would help with the retail.

More shoppers, more sales, higher rents.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe I'm an oddball, but I feel there's definitely a place for these niche stores and I'm saddened that the rents may be so high they'll be run out of dodge. I go into Mast General Store and the Appalachain Outfitters Life is Good Store at least once a month, if not weekly, and often leave with a bag in hand. There are good deals to be had at both stores on clothing. I rarely find anything to be overpriced at either. Venti, yes, is a bit too high priced for me. I'd rather go upstairs and spend my money at O-Cha instead. I also fairly frequently go into the Barefoot Comfort Company to shop for good deals on shoes. Pink Azaela is a store my life loves to frequent, but we've not yet purchased anything there, as far as I can recall. There is a good mix of stores downtown and I'd prefer to see many of these stores stay in business.

As far as what retailers we'd all like to see downtown, I have said in the past (and I'll stick by it now) that we do need a smattering (very few) national chains retailers to move into downtown for the very reasons cited here; however, also to serve as a draw for more people to come downtown and to more or less "anchor" the CBD with established national retailers that won't have a problem staying afloat even while the local stores come and go. I don't want to see national chains completely take over, no...don't misunderstand me. I'd just like to see enough of them mixed in to things to provide for a healty mix. Heck, we have an entire thread (or two) dedicated to the discussion of this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

McBee station should help with the retail aspect of downtown. Hopefully. The West End has become more of a retail destination than the originally revitalized Main St stretch, I think. Hopefully it can stay this way and maybe produce a big shopping district. This would only be enhanced by County square's redevelopment if it happens.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as what retailers we'd all like to see downtown, I have said in the past (and I'll stick by it now) that we do need a smattering (very few) national chains retailers to move into downtown for the very reasons cited here;

Downtown did have this up until 1980 or so when Haywood Mall opened up and all the chain stores that were downtown relocated to Haywood. When I first saw the movie Back to the Future I was immediately reminded of Greenville. Every the JCPenny parking lot in the movie looked just like the Twin/Lone Pine(s) Mall in the movie and downtown Hill Valley really reminded me of Greenville around the late 70's or early 80's not really by the look by more my the kind of "development" in the area.

Greenville had JC Penny, Belks, Ivey's and Myer Arnold on Main Street and Sears was on Stone Avenue in what is now an insurance building. It will take real trick to entice a store like that downtown with the parking situation the way it is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Downtown did have this up until 1980 or so when Haywood Mall opened up and all the chain stores that were downtown relocated to Haywood. When I first saw the movie Back to the Future I was immediately reminded of Greenville. Every the JCPenny parking lot in the movie looked just like the Twin/Lone Pine(s) Mall in the movie and downtown Hill Valley really reminded me of Greenville around the late 70's or early 80's not really by the look by more my the kind of "development" in the area.

Greenville had JC Penny, Belks, Ivey's and Myer Arnold on Main Street and Sears was on Stone Avenue in what is now an insurance building. It will take real trick to entice a store like that downtown with the parking situation the way it is.

Excellent post. Plus Bell Tower Mall lingered on until the early '80s, with typical mall stores (Friedman's Jewelers, Baskin Robbins, Open Book, etc.), although nothing fancy. Hopefully the County Square redvelopment can bring back some mall-type stores and large retailers. I'd figure that today's stores would often want space built to their needs and the antique-sized spaces on Main Street wouldn't necessarily fit their requirements.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Downtown did have this up until 1980 or so when Haywood Mall opened up and all the chain stores that were downtown relocated to Haywood. When I first saw the movie Back to the Future I was immediately reminded of Greenville. Every the JCPenny parking lot in the movie looked just like the Twin/Lone Pine(s) Mall in the movie and downtown Hill Valley really reminded me of Greenville around the late 70's or early 80's not really by the look by more my the kind of "development" in the area.

Greenville had JC Penny, Belks, Ivey's and Myer Arnold on Main Street and Sears was on Stone Avenue in what is now an insurance building. It will take real trick to entice a store like that downtown with the parking situation the way it is.

Yes, I think most cities who gained Malls also lost large established retailers from downtown during the same period. Where I grew up (Huntington, WV), the same exact thing happened. A huge regional mall (the Huntington Mall) opened up east of Huntington on I-64 near Barboursville. All of the major department stores fled from downtown to the mall. At least Charleston, WV was able to benefit from watching this fiasco somewhat and built their mall right in the middle of downtown (the Charleston Town Center). It was a sad state of affairs, indeed, during the late 70's through the end of the 80's.

It's not this type of large department store that I'd want to see locate downtown today though. I'd rather see places like I mentioned in the other thread(s).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


We need more national retailers to continue to grow and improve our downtown. There is nothing wrong with our local niche businesses - they are quaint, charming, and important - but their existence should not keep national retailers from entering the downtown market. As I have said before, it's survival of the fittest and I don't see it as our job to artificially create success for the existing businesses downtown. If they are a good retailer that meets the needs of enough patrons, then national retailers won't hinder their business. If national retailers move in and the local chain goes out of business, were they really that great to start with?

I think another argument made for keeping national retailers out is that people will choose the familar names over the local stores. But there are many of us (I can use us 20-somethings as an example) who simply don't find much, if anything, that appeals to us at the local chains downtown. Don't get me wrong, I am very glad we have them there, but they don't appeal to every market. If I want clothes, where do I go downtown? Rush Wilson and the like are too expensive for me. I don't wear outdoorsy stuff, so Mast General and Appalachian Outfitters don't appeal to me. So for me (and many others like me), downtown retailers would not cause us to choose Gap or J. Crew instead of a local chain. Rather, we would have options and be able to shop downtown instead of going to the 'burbs to a mall or lifestyle center.

Because right now, many of us in our 20's don't shop downtown. We enjoy dining there, going to a bar or club, walking around, and maybe going in a few stores (such as if we are looking for a small gift for someone). But when it comes to stuff like clothes, there isn't really anywhere that meets our needs. The same can be said for music, DVD's, and books (do you hear me, Borders?).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^^^ And you've hit the heart of what the City wants to try to achieve downtown: balance between retail (that will be useful to most shoppers, regardless of their demographics) and dining. Thus far, few developments (Main @ McBee, for instance) have had success finding that right mix of retail willing to come into downtown.

I guess on the bright side: who needs a dining and entertainment district when all of downtown is one? :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Because right now, many of us in our 20's don't shop downtown. We enjoy dining there, going to a bar or club, walking around, and maybe going in a few stores (such as if we are looking for a small gift for someone). But when it comes to stuff like clothes, there isn't really anywhere that meets our needs. The same can be said for music, DVD's, and books (do you hear me, Borders?).

I'm 40 and it has nothing to do with your demographic. You would probably find a lot of "old time" Greenvillians who are now retired who feel the same way. My wife and I decided to take a nice walk a while back after eating out at the Overlook Grill at Falls Park and I guess I have to put it bluntly but some of those shops downtown are just plain odd. We went into the Vendi store and it was more like walking into an modern art gallery than a retail shop. Not trying to pick on that one place but I feel sort of uncomfortable going into some of those smaller specialty shops. I almost expected to see Dieter from Saturday Night Life pop around the corner and ask me to touch his monkey.

They do have more at Mast the outdoors wears. It's one of my favorite places to go Christmas Shopping. Maybe I would be happier if Vendi would put the leg lamp from A Christmas Story in their window. Everything would be ok then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It will be interesting to see what kind of impact McBee Station has on downtown retailing. It marks a return of national retailers to downtown.

If they end up being successful, which I believe they will be, more are on the way. This means local retailers in the downtown market are in for a battle. National retailers are willing to pay very high prices for "chosen" space... over $30/sf at Greenridge. If given a choice, most landlords will gladly take more money from national tenants than less from local ones.

As Greenville said, it's a survival of the fittest situation. Many local retailers will not survive. But some will. Those that do will be stronger as a result, as they will have survived while competing with proven national retailers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd say that part of the national vs. local retailers downtown will depend on the landlords as well. A big national landlord might have the leverage to pull in chains and the hesitance to lease to a mom-and-pop operation.

I'd assume that most of the Main Street and West End storefronts are locally owned buildings so this factor might not be particularly relevant.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd say that part of the national vs. local retailers downtown will depend on the landlords as well. A big national landlord might have the leverage to pull in chains and the hesitance to lease to a mom-and-pop operation.

I'd assume that most of the Main Street and West End storefronts are locally owned buildings so this factor might not be particularly relevant.

I think Billy Mitchell would tell you the city owns it all no matter who's name is on the deed. :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Billy Mitchell would tell you the city owns it all no matter who's name is on the deed. :(

Hi! Yo! He'll be here all week folks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The same can be said for music, DVD's, and books (do you hear me, Borders?).

I 'll have to throw in the Earshot plug here....maybe not for books but CD's and DVD's...if they don't have it they will order it....i was a frequent Manifest shopper growing up & grew up down the street from the people that bought it out to open Earshot and my brother does the marketing....so believe me its a solid store that wants to be in this town and one of the only retailers downtown that is trying to market to the younger age groups, not to mention they sell beer, wine and coffee and have the only mix & burn stations around (at least that i know about)..

sorry for the gratuitous plug-

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi! Yo! He'll be here all week folks.

You can't tell you two are brothers... :lol:

I 'll have to throw in the Earshot plug here....maybe not for books but CD's and DVD's...if they don't have it they will order it....i was a frequent Manifest shopper growing up & grew up down the street from the people that bought it out to open Earshot and my brother does the marketing....so believe me its a solid store that wants to be in this town and one of the only retailers downtown that is trying to market to the younger age groups, not to mention they sell beer, wine and coffee and have the only mix & burn stations around (at least that i know about)..

sorry for the gratuitous plug-

Earshot downtown does absolutely rock, that's for sure. You won't find a store like it in many towns anywhere in the U.S., much less around here. :shades:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Besides stores , there needs to be more affordable activity driven things to do for families.

Childrens Museum etc.

Besides walking around falls park theres nothing for families to do but shop at these stores. The stores there are very unique and not something a regular family will visit every week or so. Whenever there is Fri night Jazz stores double there regular buisness. Thats because failies are there enjoying themselves in activity. (Thats why they went downtown). Not for the stores.

I believe a few national retailers will help but, I think there should be more active family things to do and affordable.

I used to think things downtown were too expensive.

Thats why I wanted to do a cheap lunch in falls park. They shot me down and I ended up on Mcbee but, atleast theres a lunch now under $5 but,

I find it amazing that theres times Im slow but I see people walking around with a $4.00 frozen coffee drink from Port City Java.

So is it too pricey or do people just have there noses up in there air a little too much for certain things downtown.

Its a strange demographic. Not easy to pinpoint which means it has to adapt to every avenue.

Not saying that I want it to be like NY because I dont but NY is a melting pot, hence Little Italy , China town, The village.

All different areas of the city that has adapted to a wide ranged demographic. Thats a little of what greenville needs. Leave Main St. as is but now it needs to add variety to toher sections than main St.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.