Empty storefronts are never a good sign. On city streets, there will occasionally be one or two as businesses close and new ones open up. A couple of years ago a card shop closed a block away, and in less than a year a healthy fast-food place, the Dig Inn Seasonal Market, opened, a definite plus.
But lately vacant stores have surged in my neighborhood. Just around the corner, a children’s bookstore closed, but at least it was moving to another space five blocks away. However, in the same block a restaurant closed over a year ago, and a card and novelties store downsized, leaving a smaller empty space. Over a year ago, a bank branch burned on the far corner, and I haven’t noticed any reconstruction (the branch reopened across the street in space vacated by a copy shop). And next to the new branch is an opticians closed through retirement.
When I delivered my compost to the local collection spot this morning, I saw three more stores also closed: a large fast-food café and two restaurants. There was a fire in one (a couple of weeks ago, apparently, but there are so many sirens on city streets it’s easy to ignore them), and damage from the fire affected the other one. But this is a college neighborhood, so that will make a big dent in the lives of many students, not to mention the people who used to work in those establishments.
And I have mixed feelings about those empty stores: I want new businesses, but we don’t need another bank, drugstore, Starbucks, or phone shop.