Almost 100 votes in our latest poll and two clear leaders finished ahead, with a pretty close third, among the 10 options:
What store would you like to see downtown?
Specialty food store — 23 percent, 21/91
Bakery/bagel shop — 21 percent, 20/91
Coffee shop — 16 percent, 15/91
Liquor store/wine shop — 8 percent, 8/91
Butcher — 8 percent, 8/91
Bar/restaurant — 7 percent, 7/91
Other — 6 percent, 6/91
Books/news/magazines — 4 percent, 4/91
Art/art supply — 2 percent, 2/91
Clothing — 0 percent, 0/91
Furniture — 0 percent, 0/91
So, it looks like you all want a specialty food store, bakery/bagel shop, and coffee shop the most. While most of you seem to want a grocery store, a specialty food store could be an interesting draw. Any suggestions exactly? I would think it’s key to have shops that might not be found elsewhere, and that could mean “specialty” just about anything.
Most of the choices in our latest poll could very well be combined into the same shop; a bakery that has bagels, and a nice coffee house space, and maybe specialty foods? Of course, just recently there was a bakery/pastry shop downtown but it didn’t last; so is it a matter of people saying they want something, but practically speaking, not using or patronizing it? I still think we’re desperate for a good bagel shop downtown, as well as a liquor store/wine shop — and not the kind that were downtown before. A liquor store would make a great complement to BYO restaurants.
What were some of your options for the six “other” votes? It’s clear that readers don’t want a clothing store or furniture store. Kind of surprising to be honest, as was the art/art supply choice. I mean, if it’s an arts town, you’d think and art or art supply shop would work, and in the same vein, perhaps an artsy type of specialty furniture store. Know what I mean? After all, the Rahway Survey (remember that?) recommended a strategy of recruiting retail related to arts and entertainment.
Free free to discuss in the comments below.