It was an interesting walk down the Drive yesterday afternoon. It seemed a lot like a December day — the weather was overcast, most of the stores seemed to be open, but there were far fewer people on the street than one might expect on a late Spring day. However, it did feel a lot more like home than, say, last month’s rather desolate walk.
There were at least five new closures this month — Tino’s at 2111 Commercial, Mark’s Pet Store at 1875, Carthage Cafe at 1851, Flower Box at 1319, and Spank Clothing at 1027 Commercial — so the vacancy rate has exploded. And frankly I doubt we have seen the full extent of the damage yet.
We are in phase two of the pandemic recovery process and there are still discussions to be had about re-opening bars and live music venues. That means that places like Bar Corso at 1608 Commercial, which literally just opened before it was shut down, still have a less than certain future. Lots of sunk costs wasted there.
Looking for good news, what is now the former Carthage Cafe has a sign saying that “BC Donair” will open soon. Also, the former Starbucks at 1752 has a sign saying “Leased”, so we can look forward to something new on that corner.
Grounds Coffee at 2086-2088 Commercial has a new patio-type area out front of both their storefronts.
For many years Coastal Food Market occupied the large storefront at 1961 Commercial. In the spring of 2019 it changed into ShipRite 2 Smoke Shop. Now, I see, the sign proclaims it is the Vapester Smoke Shop.
I noticed that Dr. Vigari’s gallery at 1816 Commercial was empty. I have decided not to call it vacant yet as they may just be storing the art works elsewhere during the plague closure. I’ll try to track down more information.
It was good to see a number of restaurants re-opening, with restrictions. I wrote last week about my pleasure at being able to eat at The Dime once again. And Havana at 1212 Commercial makes the Hive’s list of Best Patios in town.
Vacancies on the Drive this month: Listings in bold are those businesses that have announced their closure this month.
2277 Commercial (vacant 11 months), 2270 (2 months), 2233 (15 months), 2137 (4 months), 2111 (1 month), 1875 (1 month), 1851 (1 month), 1752 (4 months), 1740 (10 months), 1728 (2 months), 1608 (5 months), 1319 (1 month), 1305 (2 months), 1303 (8 months), 1027 (1 month), 1012 (8 months), 1003 (4 months), 935 (4 months).
The New York Times has an interesting article on what the collapse of restaurants can do to a neighbourhood. Thanks to Penny for the heads up.
Previous Changes On The Drive editions.