Poll results: two clear leaders for retail options

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.

9 thoughts on “Poll results: two clear leaders for retail options”

  1. No matter what type of stores are introduced into the downtown, the major issue is the town itself. Rahway has seen these types of stores in the past, and as the writer mentioned they did not last. In my opinion this is due to a shortcoming in the downtown business administration. It is my understanding that the city makes it very difficult for new businesses to open and prosper in a timely manner. By the time a new business opens, especially one that is being opened by a new entrepreneurship, the money is tight, and the longer it takes for an owner to start bringing in money, the more nails in the coffin are being provided by the city.Incentives and a hands on approach needs to be taken by the city itself. Lets work with business owners to make the opening as quickly as possible.Additionally, the city needs to take a good hard look at traffic flow. The downtown is so dis-jointed, the possibility of potentials patrons to not even know a business exists until it is too late is high.

  2. The more I think about it, the more problems this town has in attracting people to come shop and hang out here.First, parking, is a big issue. There isn't enough on-street parking available or outdoor lot parking at that. Many locals that live in apartments or commute from the train station have yearly passes for those lots. If you are coming from a neighboring town, you potentially are going to have a problem of where to put your car. The high-rise lot, is not walking distance to some places that the town is trying to attract people to let alone who wants to put their car into a garage just to run and buy a loaf of bread?Second; many of the business which have failed did so because they were either low quality, therefore, nobody had interest in them (numerous restaurants spring to mind on this one), missed the mark in what they were providing (a bakery that didn't stock basic types of bread which everyone could use, instead focusing on fancy pastries), or ill-placed and due to low foot traffic never were able to find their customer base (the Chai place comes to mind – a unique product, nice people, well run but in the wrong part of town); or possibly because they had didn't have a good business plan in place. Third. There are too many shop owners who don't make their stores a welcoming place to walk into. Those who stand outside, looking forbidding and sullen. There are several of these types around. Proprietors, who don't seem to have any sense of how to construct a pleasant atmosphere to walk into. Last. Nobody is minding the store so to speak, as far as law enforcement is concerned. Where is the police presence to keep things safe? In the last 2 weeks I've been panhandled twice on Main Street – very persistently in fact to the point of being followed once into the pass-through to the Lot Be parking lot. I lived on Main for nearly 2 years and not once did I have such a thing happen. This, seems to be a new occurrence. I suspect it's because there are so many empty stores, and emptiness breeds a sense of ennui and neglect in a community. This in turn, causes business people to turn away from taking a chance on opening their business in said community. It's a vicious cycle.I have no idea how to rectify it, I'm just blathering. I see the town getting worse in the nearly 4 years I've been living here, not better. Very disheartening. /rant off

Comments are closed.