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Holly Hills Neighborhood Seeking a St. Louis Bread Company at Loughborough Commons

It appears the neighborhood group in the Holly Hills area near Loughborough Commons is campaigning for a St. Louis Bread Company (aka Panera Bread to the rest of the country). I can’t blame them, the food is great and affordable. They have wi-fi too which is needed in the area. My investment club also happens to be a long-time shareholder of Panera (PNRA).

The following is an email sent out to neighbors:

Dear Neighbor,The Holly Hills Improvement Association Board has been working for the last year to suggest and attain the right type of businesses for the Loughborough Commons development that are a good fit for the neighborhood. I think we can all agree that Saint Louis Bread Company would be a welcome addition to the development. However, Panera Bread (who owns SLBC) is on the fence and we’ve been told directly by the Schnuck family that community support in favor this store locating at this development could possibly sway their decision.

Some of you might recall that this is the same scenerio that happened in St. Louis Hills several years ago. However, the neighborhood rallied in favor and they are currently enjoying coffee and sandwiches at their own Saint Louis Bread Company on Chippewea.

So, here is what we’ve been told to do…write letters…lots of them. They are asking us to bombard the office with support letters to convince them to locate in Loughborough Commons. I’ve put together a sample letter below that you can cut/paste, modify, or of course, you can create your own version. But the address and contact person are who you should keep consistent.

As with most things these days…time is of the essence. If we can get these letters sent by September 8th…that would be most ideal. I’m also interested in keeping track of the number of letters sent for the Schnuck Family. If emailing me to let me know you sent or will send a letter isn’t too inconvenient, I would appreciate that. Also, send this to all of your friends and neighbors and let’s see what we can do.


Mr. Ronald M. Shaich
Chairman and CEO
Panera Bread
6710 Clayton Road
Richmond Heights, MO 63117

Dear Mr. Shaich,

I live in the Holly Hills neighborhood in South St. Louis City. Our neighborhood sits adjacent to the new Loughborough Commons currently under development. I am writing to you in support of building a Saint Louis Bread Company in that development. I pledge to frequent your restaurant and encourage my neighbors to do so as well. We are a community that prides itself on city living and supporting Saint Louis businesses, such as yours. We would be overjoyed to have you as our

Thank you,

Your name here
Your address

As you might guess, I love grassroots campaigns. Yes, I would agree with these residents that a St. Louis Bread Co. would be a very welcomed addition to the local restaurant scene and the fact it is a local firm makes it all the better. I have one slight caveat: I want to be able to walk to the Bread Co. from Loughborough or the Schnucks on a sidewalk.

Panera has proven they are very willing to locate in more urban storefront locations — I’ve seen them here and in other cities. They also have a standard suburban free-standing prototype complete with drive-thru. For a stand alone building with a drive-thru their prototype is really quite attractive and exudes a higher quality feel than most such “buildings.” But, it is what it is —- a small detached structure with a drive-thru window.

The Holly Hills residents are wise to take a pro-active stand on the types of uses in the development. Yet issues such as accessibility and bike parking often escapes most local organizations. They are all volunteer and can only do so much. Their main concern is often making sure such projects are not filled with check cashing places or rent to own furniture stores. Some organizations will have a planner or architect among the group that will also inject some physical design issues into the discussion.

I have to wonder if they are getting a Big Lots store at Loughborough Commons because the one on Broadway at Osceola now has a for lease sign on it. The leasing agent? Desco (the developer of LC). I personally like Big Lots as a concept — they have some really good items at excellent prices. The store on Broadway near me is looking a bit tired but some new ceiling tiles, paint and new flooring would do wonders for that building. But stores are seldom interested in such improvements to freshen an old store when they can move to a newer development. So, it appears that I may be staring at an empty Big Lots, the building itself a former grocery store.

The planning issues around pedestrian connections and bike parking remain the same regardless of the types of retailers and restaurants that open at Loughborough Commons.

– Steve


Currently there are "23 comments" on this Article:

  1. Douglas Duckworth says:

    Steve the St. Louis Bread Company on Chippewa is up to the street as one can see here:



    Yet it is still surrounded by a large amount of parking.

    I do not see how this is much different that the McDonald’s on South Grand. The only difference is that Panera does not have a drive-thru, the food is of better quality, and there are fewer traffic issues at this intersection. All of this parking is still conducive to the automobile. They should reduce their parking lot size while having a ‘storefront.’

    Granted this shopping area already provides the parking, yet I don’t see how you can be against the development and for adding a Panera.

    Where is the consistency? Are we fighting against suburban development except when it is near the street or sidewalk? What about the excessive amount of parking spaces? What about promoting local delicatessens over corporate America?

    [REPLY The location on Chippewa was a remodel of an existing structure — that was not built from scratch. Reuse of an existing building does have some merit and the placement of the parking behind the structure is also a good thing.

    Loughborough Commons is a reality. The mixed-use urban project on 30 acres that I wanted a year and a half ago is not to be. I had hoped, through my conversations at the time, they’d at least make sure folks to walk to the store or lock up their bike. That is what I am seeking now — the minimum acceptable level, not the ideal. – SLP]

  2. Multimodal says:

    The Big Lots store is an abandoned Schnuck’s, by the way.

  3. Your Virtual Alderman says:


    Which would you rather have at LC?

    A suburban-styled, drive through STL Bread Co.


    A row of urban scaled, nail shops, tanning salons, and check cashing stores?

    I think most neighborhood groups would prefer the former, even if it means a suburban design.

    As their virtual alderman, I’m going with their wishes.

  4. Jason Toon says:

    But those aren’t the only two choices, “Alderman.” What about a Bread Co. built to the street line, with parking in the back? Like the one on S. Grand?

  5. Jason Toon says:

    Just to be clear: I know that’s not an option now. But neither is “a row of urban scaled, nail shops, tanning salons, and check cashing stores” so I assumed we were speaking hypothetically here.

    My point is, urban-scaled design and upscale chain retail are not mutually exclusive, as you seem to assume in your post.

  6. Your Virtual Alderman says:


    Thanks for your reply. As your virtual alderman, here’s my dilemma…

    I want to bring new businesses to our virtual ward, name businesses, the kind of places they “have in the county”…

    But often times those businesses, or their landlord developers, will only come to the city on their terms.

    For example, at LC, Desco built a suburban styled shopping center. Now a Bread Co on an outparcel might require a drive through. Not much I can do about that. And the neighbors obviously want a Bread Co.

    Now let’s say QuikTrip wants to open on the other side of I-55 along Loughborough. They’d require a big site, with lots of parking. So demolition would be part of the deal.

    Many of my seniors (voters), can’t afford a drive through, yuppie Bread Co latte. They want a 32 ounce, 59 cent big gulp of coffee to go with their 99 cent pre-fried taquito they can get at QuikTrip .

    Also, if we want to attract name retailers, places like Fashion Bug and Shoe Carnival, they will only locate in large, auto-friendly strip centers with lots of surface parking.

    They don’t care about walk up business. They cater to people in cars.

    Big developers don’t relate to small, independent store spaces. We have places for those sorts of “indies” on the interiors of our neighborhoods. In South City, think of places like Virginia and Meramec for example.

    However, for high traffic (read high dollar, high volume) locations, we have the opportunity to do “high impact” projects. Big projects that attract tenants like chain restaurants, large chain grocery stores, and possibly a 30-50,000 square foot professional office building.

  7. Douglas Duckworth says:


    Turning this section of South City into a miniature Rock Road / Earth City is not an option.

    These ‘County Businesses’ can either come to St. Louis with concessions or they can stay in the County. Let them develop their new stores in Lake St. Louis along Highway 70 and 64. I prefer a good 350k population size while maintaining our urban character compared to the alternative of 500-800K with cul-de-sacs, Ford Excursions, Minivans trying to hit my car, vinyl siding, and pods. If we cannot obtain growth without suburbanization then we need new leaders. This misconduct is happening with new residential developments too like Parc Ridge Estates. With its lack of through-streets, I wonder how much longer we will stand for such trash.

    Without walk ability St. Louis is reduced to a autocentric clog of traffic which will only result in wider roads obtained through eminent domain. We should demand more. Its time to end subsidy of these developments if they cannot build urban. If they want our money and our markets we must demand better designs!

  8. Scott Krummenacher says:

    I think it would be interesting to hear what all those in the neighborhood have to say about the project. My guess is that once residents, local businesses and others in the area discuss their preferences as a community, a different picture would emerge.

  9. Your Virtual Alderman says:


    In its recent newsletters, the Carondelet Community Betterment Federation has strongly supported the Loughborough Commons Shopping Center. The site of LC is within the boundaries of Carondelet.

    Also, although I don’t think they ever published anything official one way or another (they tend to avoid political controversies), the Holly Hill Neighborhood Association, by its tacit approach, could be considered in support as well.

    By comparison, while there were quite a few local residents concerned, the HHNA took a similar neutral stance regarding the proposed community center in Carondelet Park.

    As your virtual aldermen, I generally go with the preferences of local organizations over individuals.

    If CCBF or HHNO came out vocally against either the LC or the Carondelet Park Community Center project, things would probably have been done differently.

    However, from all the information I have to work with, they appear to be on board with these new projects.

  10. Adam says:


    1) what’s with all of this “virtual” business. virtual ward? what?

    2) many of us don’t want to bring the kind of places they have in the county into the city.

    3) why are you so supportive of companies that don’t care about walk up business and only cater to people in cars?

    4) quick trip should be held responsible for that abandoned mess they made on gravois before they are allowed to build anywhere else.

    5) bread company serves REGULAR COFFEE along with their yuppie lattes. exactly how many seniors have you seen drinking 32 ounce cups of coffee? and should we seriously encourage SENIORS of all people to be eating pre-fried taquitos? cheap food often = unhealthy food.

    6) it bothers me that you think big development has to exclude small store spaces. this has nothing to do with “indie” businesses (although i admit, as i’ve said before, i prefer mom and pop to big box) and everything to do with the FORM of the development, which is not good for the neighborhood.

  11. Douglas Duckworth says:


    YVA is taking the arguments of the current aldermen and using them as his own, thus exposing their methodology and giving discussions of how to solve various problems.

  12. Jim Zavist says:

    How do we decide?

    A. Let people vote with their pocketbooks?

    B. Defer to a neighborhood association populated by a small group of activists?

    C. Defer to the alderman, elected by a majority of the voters?

    D. Defer to the City planning staff and/or design professionals, who really know what’s best from a global viewpoint?

    hmmm . . . .

    [REPLY The answer is all of the above. No single viewpoint should override the others. It is through the discussions that workable solutions, probably quite creative, will emerge. The problem with the pocketbook theory is we are talking 30 acres and $14 million in tax incentives for a development that will be with us for a generation or two — we simply cannot afford failure. – SLP]

  13. Adam says:

    oh, to be the new guy. i apologize for thinking YVA was a little nutty.

  14. Scott Krummenacher says:


    As your virtual deliberative democracy representative, I should have been more clear. I know that local organizations take certain positions on development projects, though I doubt they’ve given serious consideration to all the relevant aspects of the project’s design. That these organizations favor the total package over the alternative (no development at all) is both predictable and understandable. An all or nothing choice is really no choice at all.

    Again, I would be more interested in the outcome of a conversation among all those in the neighborhood regarding the development. If they were to discuss how the project should be designed (as opposed to whether or not it should be constructed), chances are they would offer suggestions that were not originally considered as a way to improve the project. Clearly there are those in the area that would prefer and would use sidewalks. It is less clear that this alternative has even been considered as a reasonable way to provide greater access to those who need it. If my Virtual Alderman wants to know neighborhood preferences (from individuals and organizations) there are simple, easy ways to discover them. But you simply cannot accept yes or no answers to complex issues and expect people to find it acceptable (or reasonable).

  15. Your Virtual Alderman says:


    The reference to a 59 cent, 32 ounce cup of coffee was merely an example to illustrate the very frugal spending habits of some of “my” seniors. In fact, I remember one of them, God rest her soul, who used to shop for 25 cent bags of used clothing at the “Feed My People” store on Lemay Ferry.

    She liked to resell the clothing for a profit at yard sales in her back yard. She was the first St. Louisan I ever met, and she encouraged me to join our old neighborhood association. She lived like a bag lady, and died with almost $3 milion in the bank.

    Adam, when you say, “many of us don’t want the kind of businesses they have in the county”, who are you referring to?

    You would be more effective with real aldermen if the “us” you refer to were part of some recognized group. And you’d be even more effective if your group formed a coalition with other groups.

    Or, you could also get on the boards of existing organizations to work influence their policies with respect to urban development.

    Just some food for thought.

    [REPLY I’ve known of a few of those poor old folks that are loaded. You make a good point about the group — we are part of a group: we are residents of St. Louis! That really should be sufficient but perhaps it is not. So, the League of Pissed Off Urbanites? – SLP]

  16. Adam says:

    point taken, YVA. obviously statements like “we think such and such” don’t hold much weight without evidence. i was actually just thinking of others of “us” on the blog who have expressed the same opinion. but you are right.

    just for the record, i’m all about frugal (especially when it comes to second hand clothing) but not at the expense of health.

  17. travis reems says:


    I’d like to see something good come into the Big Lots location. Seeing as you an I live in the same neighborhood, would you be interested in working together to attract something good for that location?

    [REPLY Like an auto parts store? Oh wait, that is going in a new building next to the Blockbuster. It will serve as a nice bookend to the auto repair place before you get to Hardee’s. Ug. – SLP]

  18. Heather says:

    I would love to see something else go into the Big Lots store. Goodwill or Save a Lot (yes I know there is a smelly run down one on Jefferson) would be nice. Something upscale would be great but it wouldn’t fit into the current clientele the businesses that area draws. Something that would draw people’s attention from 55.

  19. Heather says:

    I’m not really sure how much weight my views on this project will have in this discussion but that’s never stopped me before. Coming from the opinion of a SAHM I was excedingly disappointed in this project. Sure having a shiny new Schnucks and Lowes will be fun to play with for a while but I had expected a pedestrian/bike friendly design with one stop shopping. I was shocked when I saw the massive grayness in front. I had visions of green strips, Trees, benches, large sidewalks with a few tables. Maybe a few smaller stores, backs to the highway to block sound, with little restaurants & storefronts. The whole area creating a “dressing in your Sunday best to go downtown” feel. Something that would compliment Carondelet Park (as much as retail can). Instead it looks like another tendril of suburban retail design snaking its way into the city. Such a pity.

  20. Heather says:

    I would love to see Great Harvest Bread Company, Caribou Coffee, Radio Shack, Laurie Shoe Store, Crazy Bowls & Wraps, Schillers or Creve Coeur Camera go in locations around Southeast City. Sadly I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

  21. josh wiese says:

    Once the hub bub about downtown’s revitalization slowly occurs my hope is that the city and developers turn their eyes toward the surrounding neighborhoods. Panera, CBW, CCC would be great additions if the neighborhood/alderman can figure out whats best for the area.

    Personally I can tell you that my area, though small, has some spots for developement that lend itself toward those types of businesses. I put the word out that we are looking for those busiensses and a few have expressed interest. I am also working with the citys economic devlopment arm – SLDC along with my alderman and some very generous volunteers and a few other politicians.

    Organize and have a clear idea of whats wanted and whats acceptable or you will be doomed to fight every check cashing and QT for months- and believe me that aint no fun

  22. randolph k says:

    has anyone been to city grocers downtown?………….that is what holly hills needs. fresh foods ,fresh produce,readymade foods ,organic choices, and daily staples at fair prices…….i thimk the guys name is rance baker ….if you have been there, you know what i know…justathought.

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