Friday, September 20, 2013

What's Going on Downtown?

This piece is a bit more Op/Ed than I typically do, but I want to share a concern of mine and maybe get an answer. I'm by no means trying to be a Debbie Downer about Downtown Waukesha with this post, but I'm maybe looking for some answers.....

Let me start by saying that I love the city of Waukesha and all the fun places to eat and shop in downtown. I went to Carroll College (University), have worked in downtown Waukesha for 9+ years, lived in downtown for 5 years and am currently pursuing buying a home in the City. I would not do this if I didn't think that Waukesha is a great place to raise a family and live. Who knows, I might someday open my dream business in downtown as well, but for now, we will leave that as just a dream until financial stability has arrived to bring it to fruition.

The river walk that was put in along the Fox River is so beautiful and clean that I walk it frequently on my lunch hour. I buy many presents from the local shops for my friend's birthdays and holidays and truly believe that downtown has a lot to offer. And on Saturday's the Farmer's Market is always bustling with folks.

However on my walk today, I couldn't help but notice that many storefronts are vacant in prime retail spots. I would think that a business would want to be on Five Points in downtown, yet three of the five points have vacancies.

Beig(?) Boutique moved off the points and onto Broadway and then closed (that spot is vacant now).

The Clarke Restaurant is "closed for remodeling?" "for lease?" "under new management?" -- who really knows.

Horse Emporium moved out of downtown but stayed in Waukesha, and that huge space is available.

Beading Hearts closed in downtown and that spot is open on the five points?

What's the deal?

I also saw that Clinton Street Gallery is still vacant on Main as is one across Main from it that was only open briefly.

Pandora's Closet is downsizing and relocating into Da Furniture Closet on Broadway.

Also, Three Sister's Uniquities moved to West Main (thank you thank you thank you for staying!) and are offering classes again. Their former shop and the shop next door are both For Lease on Clinton.

I did read on Facebook from The Freeman that J. Lotti's might have a buyer - Jackson's Blue Ribbon Pub, and that would be excellent for South Street.

But the Vacuum Store next door to J. Lotti's has closed. (South has a ton of vacancy as well. I understand it's off the beaten path, but it doesn't have to have that stigma.)

Has Waukesha lost it's interest to business owners? Are the leases outrageously priced? Does the lack of a BID deter some people from coming? Does the WDBA fulfill the role that new businesses are looking for?

Freeman Friday Night Live and Guitartown have boosted summer visitors to the city, but is a seasonal boost enough?

Obviously downtown works for some businesses as a few shops have moved around downtown and others expanded.

People's Park tripled it's size in the last three years and it's booming.

River's End Gallery has expanded.

Magellan's expanded.

And we are all aware of the strongholds that have been downtown for years that I hope never leave.

I know that I talk about Waukesha as much as I can; my friends and coworkers can vouch for that. I keep myself in the know as best I can and these folks know they can come to me then to find out the latest on whatever is going on. And I try to only talk about the positives as much as I can.

Although my blog seems to have pulled away from Waukesha a bit, I hope to bring that back now that summer is coming to a close and my schedule eases up. I know that by blogging more about the city won't bring in the droves, but it can't hurt right?

I would love to work with business owners and feature their businesses on my blog and hopefully show my readers and new readers all the great things that this city has to offer. (If you are interested, send me an email!)

If you have thoughts or opinions, don't hesitate to contact me. Remember I do have the right to remove blatantly hurtful comments, so let's keep this blog peaceful as I'm just looking for answers and trying to make downtown the destination I think it can be.

1 comment:

  1. I want to move to your town lol
    there's so much to do there.
    I'm jealous.