I live in a suburb of NYC. The population of our town is about 17K.
We have a downtown area….that is mostly vacant.
2 landlords are the key holders of these empty storefronts. It is now impossible for the middle class to shell out to rent one of these storefronts and open a business.
The only people who are doing so: the ones that already own a business.
And even then….
Exhibits A and B: Builder’s permits are emblazoned on the front windows of 2 of these storefronts. Those permits have been in the windows for over 3 months. There is no activity taking place on the inside.
One of these no show businessesstill touts a bedraggled and now faded sign in the window; the sign proclaims “Coming Soon…Deli!”
Exhibit B was probably going to be a florist. Like I said no activity there.
Exhibit C: a new restaurant opened….that was in April. A sign now sits in that window: “Renovations In Progress”. The business is closed, whilst these “renovations” take place.
Renovations??? Cheez, the business just opened! There were renovations before the eatery opened in April.
I am willing to bet that the business has changed hands and somebody new wants a new kind of eatery…. or the current business operator has simply left the scene.
Exhbit D: A sign recently appeared in another store front window: it’s a dry cleaner. That dry cleaner has not gone live yet.
Exhibit E: “Fred’s Bar and Grill”: That too, is changing hands. The prior owner operated the restaurant for about a year and a half.
Exhibit F: It’s a kid’s craft center and craft sales. They seem to be holding their own. Been open about a year and a half.
We have a video game store that went under, a dollar store that didn’t make the cut, and a liquor store that was thriving up until about 2 years ago. That storefront sits vacant, too — and about 50 feet from there was a pretty good bar and resturant that was doing good business… it closed about a year and a half ago. Nobody is willing to step up and rent the building and open a new restaurant.
You can’t blame the no show florist and the no show deli on the 2 slumlords that own the buildings. These people changed their minds; who knows why?
This is all another case of “As Goes Main Street.”
Then again, you wonder. About 5 miles from here is another Main Street: they know their clientele: Central and South Americans and Cubans and other Hispanic island clientele. There are dozens of music stores that cater to that demographic (they’re not big on downloads, that bunch), eateries that specialize in Central and South American cuisine, dozens of money wire stores, job training centers, junky clothing stores, discount hardware stores and the like. Business is booming; very few storefronts are vacant.
There are also a few chain shoestores and other chain stores thrown in: Radio Shack. Chain drug stores, Dunkin Donuts and well known fast food eateries. Business is booming there, too.
Maybe it is all a case of “sell what you know.” Maybe it’s a case of too high rent making the cost of operating a business prohibitive to people like you and me. Who knows?