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suydam

Eastown retail/restaurant changeups

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Is Eastown losing its niche as home to the progressive wing of Grand Rapids?

One of my favorite stores, Clothing Matters, is moving (I think...assuming this isn't an expansion) from the old Norwood Building to the little strip mall on Diamond just north of Lake (the one that also houses Global Infusion).

That means that Eastown has lost its ill-fated, short-lived music store, Terra Stella, Green Heiress and Clothing Matters in the last year without anything to really replace them (the new massage place, not withstanding).

With the New Yorker's security-bar windows and the empty storefronts, Eastown is no longer the neighborhood business district I show out-of-town friends when I'm bragging about the urban vitality of GR. Nowadays it's East Hills and the stretch of Fulton either side of Diamond that is brag-worthy.

I certainly hope Eastown gets some new people moving in soon....I miss my old friend.

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I think Eastown needs some major infrastructure improvements. Sidewalks, street lamps, trees, signage to parking, plus some revitalization of store fronts. I've mentioned it before but the Lake Dr. & Wealth intersection would be a great spot for a round-about with a landmark in the middle. It beautifies, creates a park-like space and gives drivers a 360 degree view of all the ET has to offer.

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I think Eastown needs some major infrastructure improvements. Sidewalks, street lamps, trees, signage to parking, plus some revitalization of store fronts. I've mentioned it before but the Lake Dr. & Wealth intersection would be a great spot for a round-about with a landmark in the middle. It beautifies, creates a park-like space and gives drivers a 360 degree view of all the ET has to offer.

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Does anyone know what retail rents are in eastown compared to east hills? I'm curious if that has anthing to do with it.

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I don't know how high the rents are, but whatever they are, they're too high (or there'd be fewer vacancies, right?).

I count:

1) Clothin Matters - soon to be vacant

2) Former Shipwreck music

3) Former Green Heiress

4) Former Eye Candy

5) Slot between the Hookah Lounge and Mulligan's

6) That fitness club

That's just what I noticed last time I ate an Ultradog.

I'll agree with infrastructure improvements. The streets, sidewalks and storefronts are all nicer in East Hills it would seem.

Eastown...get your act together so I can start showing you off again!

Thanks.

That is all. :)

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^ [sigh]

suydam, your sentiments are my sentiments. I'm the biggest booster of Eastown that I know of, and I don't know why the (apparently toothless) Eastown Community Association or Eastown Business Association don't step up and investigate rent prices. I also wonder how much active courting of independent retail businesses is taking place.

What a black eye for us, having so many vacant store fronts. Though I must add that Clothing Matters' move is a good thing for them, as it will result in much more visibility than their current lil' hole-in-the-wall.

Toss out some ideas for those empty storefronts, Urban Planeteers: (no nail salons or cell phone stores, please!)

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Toss out some ideas for those empty storefronts, Urban Planeteers: (no nail salons or cell phone stores, please!)

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As much as we hate the nail salons and cell shops they are needed alot of times i have to drive way out to find one where I can pay my bill. Does anyone think that maybe all the rental properties play a part in the fall so to speak of that area? Familys tend to spend a little more hence why all the shops spring up where ur typical familys are located, however id be intrested to see rental prices also.

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I will probably get blasted for saying this, but the businesses that left had no interest for me. Put in a Marie Catrib's, put in a clothing store that sells more than tie dye, put in a retail store that sells more than Psychic readings and I would patronize them!

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Not to mention the fact that the place is generally just plain filthy. I drive thru 3-4 times a week each morning and you just cannot deny that their generally trash all over the street. If progressive means slobs and no-pride for your surroundings - no thanks. What the heck does progressive mean anyway?

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I don't know how high the rents are, but whatever they are, they're too high (or there'd be fewer vacancies, right?).

...

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Not to mention the fact that the place is generally just plain filthy. I drive thru 3-4 times a week each morning and you just cannot deny that their generally trash all over the street. If progressive means slobs and no-pride for your surroundings - no thanks. What the heck does progressive mean anyway?

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Concerning the Eastown Community Association and the Eastown Business Association - they have been actively working on addressing the problem with both vacancies and infrastructure improvements. The ECA and EBA have joined forces and have put to gether an infrastructure improvement plan for the area, which is most likely sitting on some city desk right now. I have worked with several neighborhood and business groups around the city and have found that the Eastown folks are generally the most active and willing to get involved. Unfortunately our city does not provide the tools that would help any of these groups to solve the problems. Our city has taken a hands off approach to neighborhoods and neighborhood business districts for years and it has only gotten worse with the current make-up of the city commission. The fact is that our Neighborhood Associations and Business Associations are expected to do a great deal of work to benefit the city without being funded to do so. Residents and business owners assume that the city should be funding this type of work and the city has abdicated their responsibility. We have a bunch of broken and out-dated systems that are not getting the work done that needs to be done.

^ [sigh]

suydam, your sentiments are my sentiments. I'm the biggest booster of Eastown that I know of, and I don't know why the (apparently toothless) Eastown Community Association or Eastown Business Association don't step up and investigate rent prices. I also wonder how much active courting of independent retail businesses is taking place.

What a black eye for us, having so many vacant store fronts. Though I must add that Clothing Matters' move is a good thing for them, as it will result in much more visibility than their current lil' hole-in-the-wall.

Toss out some ideas for those empty storefronts, Urban Planeteers: (no nail salons or cell phone stores, please!)

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Thanks for your enlightening post, Mark. I wasn't aware of the ins and outs of the Associations vis-a-vis the City.

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The intersection is already autocentric. By adding a park-like round-about would only improve it. The automobile is part of our culture. Not gonna change any time soon so lets do the best we can to create a city that is accessible to the automobile whilst pleasing to the eye. Compromise.

As for store-fronts...bakery...with chocolates, candies, malts, etc.

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My ideas:

East End Pastries recently closed in Gaslight Village. If they moved to Eastown I'd be a happy returning customer as they made some awesome birthday cakes (for my daughter's first 2 birthdays as well as my wife's last birthday...29 again!!!)

LA Insurance. Just kidding. :) Nobody has mentioned them in the anti-cell-phone-anti-nail-salon listing.

Bike Shop - amen. When Ada pulled the plug on their Gaslight Village idea I was heartbroken.

Stucci's Ice Cream? :)

Authentic Mexican that isn't 50 yards off a main drag (and thus doomed to failure before it ever opens). Silver Cactus was tasty.

I will probably get blasted for saying this, but the businesses that left had no interest for me. Put in a Marie Catrib's, put in a clothing store that sells more than tie dye, put in a retail store that sells more than Psychic readings and I would patronize them!

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I think Eastown prides itself on being the "antithesis" to superclean Gaslight Village, maybe even to their own detriment. I too drive through (I don't think I've walked through Eastown in a decade) occasionally and think it definitely needs new streets, new sidewalks, etc.. I don't think that because Blockbuster and the gas station are "auto-centric" is at all the problem.

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...like Bill and Paul's Sporting Goods back to its former location on Wealthy Street.

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Fulton St.??? I don't think B & P was ever on Wealthy. Maybe I'm mistaken.

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I own a house in Eastown and offer the following opinions for whatever their worth.

- It'd be nice to have a decent restaurant serving American cuisine during normal business hours (i.e not closing the doors at 2:00 PM like Wolfgang's). Current options include chili dogs, gyros, tacos, pizza or Subway.

- 100% agreement with GRguy's statement: "the businesses that left had no interest for me. Put in a Marie Catrib's, put in a clothing store that sells more than tie dye, put in a retail store that sells more than Psychic readings and I would patronize them." I know there are a lot of free spirited folk driving the Eastown area, but the majority of people that would shop the area don't have the same needs as consumers. To quote Joe Dirt "Well that might be your problem, it's not what you like, it's the consumer."

- I visit BP, Blockbuster and Subway more than all others combined. (Although Wolfgang's would probably beat those three if I was in town on weekends more often.)

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Yes, the original B&P store was near the Lake Dr and Wealthy intersection...I think where CVS is now...

They then moved to East Fulton and even had a store in the old Eastbrook Mall.

I worked a few years in the Fulton store but not old enough to even remember the original store...just remember the history.

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I know there are a lot of free spirited folk driving the Eastown area, but the majority of people that would shop the area don't have the same needs as consumers. To quote Joe Dirt "Well that might be your problem, it's not what you like, it's the consumer."

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Not the CVS spot. Bill and Pauls was in the block where Wolfgang's is on the Southwest side of the intersection...the original Intersection bar (hence the name) took over some of the space vacated when Bill and Paul's left. I remember the front door handles were ski tips.

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Ive heard the same thing regarding the city comission in regards to there hands off approach to helping neighborhood business. What the heck are they doing in office if they cant even fix a few sidwalks to improve the neighborhood. I see time and time again sidwalks that are being fix when they were perfectly fine while some are falling apart and are overlooked.

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Ill say it again, Eastown needs a few things.

1. a 24 hour diner style eatery, with blue plate specials and cheep all night fixins.

2. Needs a Bike shop, this can be small, repair focused.

3. better icecream than soft serve.

4. more green.

5. more late night entertainment than a bar. Bring back something into the old intersection.

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