I am a big fan of Main Streets, as I am sure many of you reading this are. Supporting local business is a wonderful thing, and I like going to a place where I either know the person who is running the cash register or where I am at least a recognized face. I enjoy personal connections with people and the places where I shop. This goes for farmers’ markets too, but that’s a post for another day.
Admittedly, I’m not walking around the closest Main Street to my house as often as would like. In grad school, I could walk to the village’s Main Street; it was wonderful. I need to drive to this one, and then there is the whole parking issue. I am not a good parallel parker.
Also, I have little need for the bridal shops, lingerie store, and pricey jewelry stores at this point in my life, but you better believe that I will check out those bridal stores if and when I plan to get married. I also don’t have the funds to go to many of the restaurants on the street, but you can find me at the same restaurant every Tuesday for its trivia night. They usually pack the place.
Despite my lack of needing some of the stores on Main Street, (there also is no grocery store, which would increase my presence on the street) I’m glad that someone does. There have been few empty storefronts on the street, a few that had been empty just opened or are in the process of opening, which is great. In the summer, there are monthly Main Street Strolls where stores stay open later and local artists and performers set up stalls to sell their pieces or provide entertainment to those walking by. On weekends the streets are often bustling with visitors.
Main Street is also the only street not “up hill” or “down hill” as it is the street that divides these two sections of town. East of Main Street slopes up, and west of Main Street slopes down. There is a certain charm to the street, and over the years much of it has been taken care of and restored. Some long-time locals, those who grew up in town, complain that Main Street and the town has changed too much. It’s too bad that they aren’t more involved in the town’s activities. Truthfully though, it is very expensive to live right in the town, and many who grew up both up and down hill can’t afford to live there as adults. It’s a shame that that happened, but in talking about Main Street specifically, 30 and 40 years ago, the upkeep on the buildings were not the same and I wonder what Main Street would look like today if other more recent locals hadn’t come in and reinvested in the street and area. (That being said, there are some long standing institutions on the street that are doing amazingly well and that is certainly to be commended. The same can be said for some very dedicated long-time locals.) I do have a suspicion that the street would be less busy, and more stores would either be empty or the buildings themselves would be in not as good of a condition.
This post serves as the introduction to the one empty location on Main Street that has been that way for at least 3 years. Prior to that, for as long as I can remember the lot had been the site of a gas station. More on the community opinion on the possible futures of this location in my next blog post.