1 Block: 6 Empty Storefronts
The departure of the Plaza Too store on Palmer Avenue on Larchmont this week
leaves six empty storefronts on the retail block between Chatsworth and Larchmont Avenues. While it’s a sign of the times and perhaps a lack of support from landlords, we can help remaining local businesses stay here if we support them.
One of the biggest problems with having a retail store in Larchmont is lack of parking. How many times have I driven around and around without being able to find a parking spot and so I go to a strip mall instead. Then, if you do find parking, you don’t have time to have a meal and just shop around. You need to be out of there quickly. I’m sure it would also help to get landloards to be more realistic about pricing in this economy.
I would say that downtown Larchmont is in the midst of a certifiable crisis. How can the remaining stores continue to thrive if the are surrounded by empty spaces? There will be no foot traffic to speak of… people will surely head to the mall for a more complete shopping experience. I remember when it was hard to find a parking space on Palmer. It’s very sad. What is the solution?
Actually, I almost never have problems parking in Larchmont. It suffices to just check the municipal lots, which are a few blocks from most shopping destinations. The lot behind Foley’s, etc., does get full, but the one up the little street by Auray’s always has a few spots, I find. Also, there are usually spots on residential streets just a few blocks from the main shopping venues. I think people should plan ahead for a short walk. At the malls, I usually have to pay to park (and for the extra gas) and once got my car terribly scratched with no note left behind. I think local shopping beats that any day!
You are right, it is no longer difficult to find parking on Palmer between Larchmont Ave. and Chats because there is hardly anything left to park for!!! When we moved here 7+ years ago it required many loops around the block to finally find a spot.
I have never had a problem parking on Palmer Ave, and it’s even easier now.
I’m sorry, but I can’t believe that the core issue discussed in these email is the parking. I moved to this town ten years ago from the city, partly based on the mini-Colombus Ave. vibe that Palmer used to have. If flash forward to now and I was looking at moving from the city, I would never move to this town. The downtown retail area is becoming a ghost town, there is very few and far between pedestrian strolling (albeit it is cold) and this combined with the fact that our school budgets are being decimated, this is a town on the way down. I would like to know what we can hope for? I even wrote an email to the mayor to ask what her position was and never got the courtesy of a response. I clearly understand that the economy is affecting our shopping and spending, but there has to be some creative problem solving and cooperation between the Town and the landlords in order to bring back retailers. Please…
I would love to know what the expenses for these landlords are in relationship to the outrageous rents they are asking. What benefits do they receive when they leave stores like Larchmont Sports vacant for over a year–losses on their income tax? When the storefronts do get filled, will they all be banks and Verizon Wireless like stores? Do we want to have a town with some shops with individual personality and a place that kids and families want to stroll around in? It’s really sad.
As a local business owner I thought I’d take the opportunity to perhaps take the conversation in a different direction so we DON’T lose more local business. Let’s open an honest conversation about why we don’t shop locally. Here are the top reasons I hear related to my shop. I’m sure other business owners hear other things too.
1. I can get it at Trader Joe’s for less.
So I have spent hours looking at exactly what Trader Joe’s is selling and how much they are charging for the quality they are delivering. Here’s a great example. Last week’s tulips and hyacinth (thank heavens spring has arrived) were plentiful and priced to move. They were all over the store in buckets WITH NO WATER IN THEM. They had plenty left at the end of the day and who knows if they were going to be properly refrigerated so they would be of decent quality the next day. As we all know, price is only one component of value. If the flowers die a few days after you get home, you’ve wasted your money.
2. It’s easier to order from SOMEWHERE.com. Sure it’s easy but did you know that all those web sites take 30% as a marketing fee from your order? If you pick something that you pay $50 for you are only getting $35 of value. When you take off the price of delivery, you are really only getting $25 of value. Doesn’t seem right to us.
3. Your prices are too high. We know flowers are a luxury item (but also an extremely economical gift) and like all retailers in this economy we’re working hard to find new ways to deliver value. We recently launched $5 fridays where many of our most popular flowers sell in small bunches for only $5.
4. We’ve never heard of your store. As any “off Palmer” retailer knows, we have to work extra hard to bring folks to our area of town but I am always amazed, with only 4 commercial streets in our town how folks really have never heard of us. How do we spread the word (without spending a ton on marketing – who can afford that these days)?
5. It would be better if you were closer to the train station. We’d LOVE to be able to sell flowers by the train station so we went in front of town council to get approval for a flower cart during the nice weather. We were turned down as a “peddling and soliciting” by-law exists in the town. Frustrating to say the least.
Retail is rough these days so we’d love to know what else we can do to make our shop better for the Larchmont community. All constructive suggestions to email@example.com welcome!
I don’t know about flowers, but I have to say that while I love to support local when I can, stores like Plaza Too need(ed) to diversify their offerings. I did buy shoes at Plaza Too, but usually when they went on sale. I found that the average price of their shoes was between $185 and $250. The least expensive handbags were several hundred dollars. They had beautiful things, and I know that there are plenty in this town that have no problem spending that. But why not offer more of a range of options for those of us who can’t afford that? The same could be said of Lorilyn where I bought my girls clothes sometimes, but while I’d love to “support my local” I just can’t afford to buy $48 t-shirts on a regular basis.So in my opinion, that is a significant reason why many people go elsewhere.I’m off to buy some gift certificates for 2 bat mitzvahs at RE-cologie–a place on Palmer that has reasonable prices and unique items for sale!
Between revaluation, empty storefronts, half-day kindergarten classes, I am very concerned about how these will affect our already depressed home values…