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A Look At Property Damage On West Florissant

Following the late evening announcement on Monday November 24, 2014 of the grand jury’s decision to not indict former officer Darren Wilson, we saw destruction far worse than we had in August. After the QT was torched on the night of Sunday August 10th I began the process of photographing every building along W. Florissant starting at the railroad tracks in Jennings to Pershall Rd next to I-270.  I recently returned to photograph the recent damage, allowing me to show you before & after photos.

We’ll start on the south end and work our way north.

Ferguson:

9163 W. Florissant, just north of McDonald's, in August
9163 W. Florissant, just north of McDonald’s, in August. Click image to view map.
The front now
November 28th
The building was very deep
The building was very deep
Side-facing storefronts now
Side-facing storefronts now
HealSTL was located in the last space
HealSTL was located in the last space
And now
And now
Sam's Meat Market 9241 W Florissant
Sam’s Meat Market 9241 W Florissant on August 11th
August 16th
August 16th
November 28th
November 28th
Public Storage at 9291 W. Florissant in August
Public Storage office at 9291 W. Florissant in August
November 28th
November 28th

Dellwood:

Hunan Chop Suey at 9806 W. Florissant on August 18th
Hunan Chop Suey at 9806 W. Florissant on August 18th
November 28th
November 28th
Title Max at 9814 W Florissant in August
Title Max at 9814 W Florissant in August
November 28th
November 28th
The Fashion R Boutique at 9844 W. Florissant in August
The Fashion R Boutique at 9844 W. Florissant in August
November 28th
November 28th
O'Reily Auto Parts on August 19th
O’Reily Auto Parts on August 19th
November 28th
November 28th
The Autozone at 10am on August 11th, the morning after the QT was burned
The AutoZone at 10am on August 11th, the morning after the QT was burned. Windows were broken here.
The AutoZone at 9947 W. Florissant in Dellwood was one of many businesses burned following the grand jury decision.   Photo date: August 19, 2014
More than a week later, on August 19th, the broken windows are boarded.
The same AutoZone on Friday November 28th
The same AutoZone on Friday November 28th
Prime Beauty Supply at 1475 Chambers at W. Florissant
Prime Beauty Supply at 1475 Chambers at W. Florissant in August
On November 20th they had boarded their windows
On November 20th they had boarded their windows
A week later
A week later
AutoBuyCredit at 10250 W. Florissant in August
AutoBuyCredit at 10250 W. Florissant in August
Their car lot in August
Their car lot in August
A total of 16 cars were destroyed in November
A total of 16 cars were destroyed in November
I don't seem to have a good before of the Conoco station at 10280 W. Florissant, just north of the car lot.
I don’t seem to have a good before of the Conoco station at 10280 W. Florissant, just north of the car lot.

Much more damage in Dellwood. I doubt all will be rebuilt. The adjacent residential housing is nice, but it may not stay that way if the commercial district doesn’t come back.

— Steve Patterson

 

Ever Changing Grocery Market

November 24, 2014 Featured, Retail 7 Comments

The grocery industry, like many industries, continues to evolve. In the UK, for example, analysts are suggesting one out of five stores need to close to grow profits.  Closer to home, Whole Foods is building a new store in one of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods:

That proposition entails unusually high stakes for a supermarket. Whole Foods is gambling that it can tailor its high-priced brand to a low-income market. It’s gambling that it can create customers out of people who out of necessity have long shopped at corner stores and Save-A-Lot. It’s gambling that it may even change what some of them eat. (Washington Post

This year we saw the opening of Fields Foods south of downtown, the closure of a Schnuck’s on North Grand and a new chain, Lucky’s Market in a former Straub’s in Ellisville. Never heard of Lucky’s? It started expanding outside of Boulder CO in January 2013:

Lucky’s founder Bo Sharon has partnered with industry veterans — including former executives of Wild Oats and Sunflower Farmers Markets — to launch Lucky’s Farmers Market, a chain of full-service grocery stores that offer a mix of mainstream, natural, organic and locally grown foods. 

Lucky’s Farmers Market officials quietly launched a website touting their intentions to open stores in the “Heartland of America,” including in Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. (Source)

This month I’ve shopped at both of the open Lucky’s Markets in Missouri: Columbia & Ellisville. A friend told me they were a cross between Trader Joe’s & Whole Foods, but I think they’re closer to a less expensive Whole Foods, with very little in common with Trader Joe’s. Unlike Trader Joe’s, Lucky’s Market is a full service grocery store with butchers, deli, salad bar, sushi bar, and hot prepared foods.

Local chain Straub’s wasn’t open long at this location:

Less than a year after opening, Straub’s in Ellisville plans to close, leaving 50 workers without jobs.

The Straub’s store at 15830 Fountain Plaza Drive, which opened Dec. 3, 2008, will close Oct. 31, Trip Straub, vice president of Straub’s Markets, said Tuesday. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Staub’s still has four long-time locations: Town & Country (1966), Webster Groves, Clayton (1933), and the city’s Central West End neighborhood (1948). Next year a new Whole Foods will open in the CWE, just a few blocks from Straub’s.

The deli and bakery in the Columbia MO Lucky's Market
The deli and bakery in the Columbia MO Lucky’s Market
Overview of the Lucky's Market in the St. Louis suburb of Ellisville
Overview of the Lucky’s Market in the St. Louis suburb of Ellisville
The 2nd St. Louis area Lucky's Market will be in Rock Hill
The 2nd St. Louis area Lucky’s Market will be in the Market at McKnight shopping center in Rock Hill
Whole Foods will occupy the ground floor of City Walk at Euclid & Pine
Whole Foods will occupy the ground floor of City Walk at Euclid & Pine
Fields Foods, November 22, 2014
Fields Foods, November 22, 2014

I think Lucky’s Market has the mix of products that Fields Foods is going for, but on a larger scale. Hopefully the locally-owned Fields Foods will scale up in the future so their prices can come down. I look forward to the opening of the new Whole Foods in the CWE but I also want a Trader Joe’s and a Lucky’s Market in the city.

— Steve Patterson

 

Repurposing Gas Stations As Restaurants

The other day, while waiting at a red light, I noticed a business had opened in an old filling station at Eichelberger & S. Kingshighway. The ice cream shop is called The Filling Station.

The Filling Station opened in 2013, click image to see entry on Yelp.
The Filling Station opened in 2013, click image to see entry on Yelp.

I haven’t patronized the business so I can’t speak to the food or service. However, I can say I love the building and its use as a restaurant. Before the light turned green I was thinking about the lunch my husband and I had in Kansas City, at a place I thought was a former gas station.

Joe's Kansas City, formerly Oklahoma Joe's, is among the most popular BBQ restaurants in Kansas City.
Joe’s Kansas City, formerly Oklahoma Joe’s, is among the most popular BBQ restaurants in Kansas City, thankfully we arrived before the line was out the door.
Inside the former service bays
Inside the former service bays
It was after we ate that I realized this was still a functional gas station!
It was after we ate that I realized this was still a functional gas station!

A hugely popular restaurant operating out of a current gas station? Here’s part of their story:

Later that year [1996], experience and commitment intersected with opportunity and serendipity at the corner of 47th Avenue and Mission Road in Kansas City, Kansas, where the owner of a little neighborhood gas station and convenience store, not far from the Stehneys’ house, closed the little fried chicken counter he had been operating inside the store. “It seemed like a pretty good place for a barbecue joint,” Jeff says. “Inside a gas station. Plus there was a liquor store next door, in the same building, which was kind of cool. But the main thing was that it was close to home. I knew we’d be putting in some long hours, and being close to home would be a really good thing. We put together a proposal, made an offer, and all of a sudden we were not only in the barbecue business, but also in the gas station business.” (Joe’s KC)

As a vegetarian I don’t visit BBQ places, but I’d read about their portobello sandwich: The Portobello Z-Man Sandwich $7.39 (smoked portobella, smoked provolone cheese, topped with two crispy onion rings, on a toasted Kaiser roll).

The operating gas station in KC doesn’t have the architectural charm of the older & smaller building in south St. Louis, but the idea is great. What a great way for someone wanting to get into the restaurant business — opening up inside an existing gas station. I’m curious how many gas stations we have in the region that have lunch counters inside. If you’ve got a great product, you could do well.

Have a great weekend, see you at 8am Sunday for a one day poll (8am-8pm).

— Steve Patterson

 

St. Louis’ IKEA Will Be Just Like Kansas City’s IKEA

November 17, 2014 Big Box, Featured, Retail, Travel 2 Comments

My husband and I recently visited the newly opened IKEA in the Kansas City area.

IKEA Merriam
IKEA Merriam KS

I’d researched the location prior to our trip, more on that later. As we entered the top level it hit me — it’s just like the 2nd Chicago-area IKEA (Bolingbrook, IL). I emailed IKEA spokesman Joseph Roth while we were shopping:

Steve Patterson: “It looked like it was the Bolingbrook location over parking. I’m guessing the St. Louis location now under construction will be similar?”

Joseph Roth: “Correct. Essentially, there is mostly just one version of the store; but where the size of the site is smaller, we elevate the store above parking — as we did in Merriam, KS and are doing in St. Louis.”

Thus, by visiting the IKEA in Merriam KS we got a preview of the St. Louis location that will open in the Fall of 2015. Before we look at the store let’s look at the site — similarities and differences with the St. Louis site.

The demolition of a vacant shopping center that will become the future home of the area’s first Ikea store is set for Wednesday in Merriam.

The 60,000-square-foot building, which was initially planned for a Circuit City electronics store, will be razed and replaced by an Ikea home furnishing store that will be about six times as large. (Kansas City Star)

Razing an old shopping center for a new retail project isn’t a big deal, but a new, never occupied, shopping center was leveled!

In 2004, the city approved a plan by DDR Corp. (then called Developers Diversified Realty) to erect a fancy new “urban village.” Up went the strip mall. Then down went the U.S. economy. At the time of its completion, Merriam Village had signed only one tenant: Circuit City. But the electronics retailer collapsed into bankruptcy before it could occupy its brand-new store, leaving only “CIRCUIT CI” on the mall’s otherwise blank marquee, a ghost visible to highway drivers long after the deal fell apart. (Pitch)

You can see photos of the strip shopping center here.

Aerial of Merriam Village.
Aerial of Merriam Village from Apple Maps, click to view a current aerial in Google Maps.

You can’t get much more suburban than this site! Still, the area is served by public transit. The area has good sidewalks and the Merriam Village shopping center did a good job of connecting to the public sidewalk out front. Employees are far more likely than customers to arrive via public transit.

Pedestrians on the public sidewalk have a straight shot to the front door.
Pedestrians on the public sidewalk have a straight shot to the front door.
The site is so compact they built structured parking to the south of the building
The site is so compact they built structured parking to the south of the building
The north side of IKEA as seen from the new QT down the hill.
The north side of IKEA as seen from the new QT down the hill. The retaining walls from the razed shopping center were…retained
Looking toward the south
Looking toward the south
Looking toward the north
Looking toward the north

The St. Louis location, despite being closer to downtown, isn’t as tight. We’ll have lots more surface parking, here’s the site plan for St. Louis:

Proposed site plan for the IKEA, I marked the area to the east to indicate the proposed retail development. Click image to view larger.
Proposed site plan for the IKEA, click image to view larger version.

The Kansas City IKEA is the 7th IKEA location I’ve shopped at over the last 24+ years but I realize many of you may not have been in one.  My 15+ times visiting IKEA have always been while traveling, several times I’ve packed my car to the headliner. It’ll be nice having a store so close where I can just get a little something, I can easily go back to get more.

The top level is the showroom, with model rooms set up to show you ideas for using their products. After you make your way through this floor you’ll find the main restaurant. Down one level you’ll find the products.

Let’s start by parking under the store.

The garage under the store isn't special, though brighter than under the Target at Hampton & Chippewa
The garage under the store isn’t special, though brighter than under the Target at Hampton & Chippewa
Looking toward the entry
Looking toward the entry
Losding areas are outside and in the covered garage. Unlike other IKEA stores, you can wheel carts to your car.
Losding areas are outside and in the covered garage. Unlike other IKEA stores, you can wheel carts to your car.
Conveyor belt helps you get down from the checkout to the parking level
Conveyor belt helps you get down from the checkout to the parking level
Once at the main level you are directed up to the showroom level
Once at the main level you are directed up to the showroom level via the escalator or elevator
The start of the showroom level
The start of the showroom level
Besides living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, etc., they also are big in everything you need for a new kitchen.
Besides living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, etc., they also are big in everything you need for a new kitchen.
The large restaurant is cafeteria style
The large restaurant is cafeteria style
On the lower level is where you'll find the products to fill your  bag or cart.
On the lower level is where you’ll find the products to fill your bag or cart.
Bed & bath linens
Bed & bath linens
Lighting ia one of my favorite sections, many are now LED.
Lighting ia one of my favorite sections, many are now LED.
Then you'll find the warehouse area where you'll find the flat-packed furniture you saw displayed in the showroom above.
Then you’ll find the warehouse area where you’ll find the flat-packed furniture you saw displayed in the showroom above.
Seasonal merchandise is displayed near the checkout lines...and expect lines on weekends. Their bistro is just past the checkout
Seasonal merchandise is displayed near the checkout lines…and expect lines on weekends. Their bistro is just past the checkout

In the past I’ve told people to plan at least 4 hours to visit an IKEA the first time, but it’ll be different having a store so close. It’ll be easy to visit often a year from now. If you want a preview of the coming St. Louis IKEA just visit the suburban Kansas City IKEA.

— Steve Patterson

 

Poll: Do You Plan To Shop On Thanksgiving Day?

November 16, 2014 Featured, Retail, Sunday Poll 6 Comments
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar

Some retailers have announced they’ll be open Thanksgiving Day, while others proclaim they’ll be closed.

Kmart, J.C. Penney, Toys R Us and Walmart are all opening their doors on Thanksgiving this year, but that doesn’t mean everyone is asking workers to report for Black Friday duty a day early.

At least 13 large retailers have decided to remain closed on Thanksgiving. In various statements, the companies have cited the questionable benefits of opening on Thursday and the importance of preserving the holiday for employees and customers alike. (Huffington Post)

I’m curious if readers will be out shopping, at home shopping online, or not shopping at all. The poll is in the right sidebar (desktop layout).

— Steve Patterson

 

 

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