The Vacant Spots on Main Street

To my dismay, the wonderful kitchen and home furnishing store on North Main Street, Cultivate Home, is closing. The reason is sad; not finances, but the health of the owner. I went in on Thursday and already, with the discounts, the store was nearly empty.

Cultivate Home will probably be closed by the end of the week.

Next door, where Sole Desire Shoes sat for a brief time, it looks like someone is moving in. The bigger retail space close to them is still vacant, with an Available for Lease sign in the window.

The Interior of the old Sole Desire shoe store.

Near the west corner of Bodega Avenue (Highway 12) and Main Street, one door up from the live theater, the space that used to be Maizy’s Closet has morphed into an Italian cafe called Portico. I’m guardedly hopeful. It looks like a lunch-only place at the moment. (Update: Lunch and dinner.) I’ve peered in through the glass, and the big draw right now is the open kitchen, all gleaming and sparkling. There is a large fountain inside the place, apparently meant to evoke the sense of a piazza. I wish them luck.

In the south block of the Main Street “shopping district,” which folks on Nextdoor are calling” Old Town” (snort!), there are some vacant storefronts too. After many, many years as a fixture in town, Wild Things has closed. About two years ago, the owner was crossing Bodega Ave/Highway 12 in a crosswalk when a car hit her. It took her a very long time to recover from the resulting head injury. I don’t know if that time let her reestablish her priorities or if running a retail shop single-handedly was just too much, but the shop is closed. Retrograde Coffee hopes to expand into that space.

This used to be Wild Things
Retrograde Coffee, next door, plans to expand into this space.

Funk and Flash, the store with the most personality on South Main, has moved out of its home, the large 1950’s-style storefront with the double sets of windows, into a smaller space in the charter school building. This means that have about 25% of their wonderful inventory, and I fear it means bad things for their costume section, although the displays on the mannequins outside are still as outrageously fun as ever.

In their old place is… well. There’s a nail salon with several stations, that has been empty every time I’ve walked past.

On the other side is something from a time warp. It’s not open yet; it looks like it might be a indoor flea market or… something that would be in an old movie with a name like “Desert Gulch Trading Post. Next Gas 700 miles.” It’s got some tools, some… other things in the window, and a display of soft drinks. This should be interesting, if slightly depressing. What am I saying? It’s already depressing.

The nail salon is not making a big splash. Seated with her back to the camera, in the center of the sofa, is the owner.

Items for the mystery store.
And some beverages to go with your candies, and your tools.

I don’t like the vacancies on Main Street. They, like large encampments of homeless people and billboards offering to buy your house for cash, are symbols of decline. Two of these closures are not economically driven, but I still don’t like the failing-town look the For Lease signs and the windows covered with brown paper give the heart of the little town.

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One Response to The Vacant Spots on Main Street

  1. Terry Connelly says:

    Excellent post. The photos add a lot. I think it’s not just happening in your town, but everywhere, even in big cities.

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