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“St. Louis” Companies That Don’t Have St. Louis City Locations

September 14, 2005 Local Business 10 Comments

Today I learned that online investment broker Scottrade is based in St. Louis — well in suburban Des Peres. Their office is near the formerly blighted Westfield Shopping Town known as West County Mall. Scottrade has five St. Louis region branch locations; three in St. Louis County, one in St. Charles County and one in Metro East. But not in St. Louis proper. Hopefully if they decide to add a sixth branch it will be in the city.

Another St. Louis area based company lacking representation in the city is grocery store chain Dierberg’s. This is not such a bad thing since they build massive boring strip centers like competitor Schnuck’s. We’ll see urban stores from national chains like Whole Foods, Wild Oats and Trader Joe’s before our big local chains wake up to changing attitudes.

Straub’s, with four area locations, has been around since 1901. Their West End location does a great job serving the needs of many customers. Downtown City Grocers does for downtown what Straub’s does for the West End although on a slightly smaller scale.

Local banks seem to be doing well but a number of them don’t have St. Louis City locations. As more and more residents flock to downtown and other neighborhoods it will be interesting to watch as new businesses open to serve their needs. Will it be the national chains or local businesses that fill the need. Unfortunately I think anti-city bias in the region will mean it will be local businesses and chains that will be the slowest to react to the increased demand in the city.

– Steve

 

US Bank Installs Bike Racks At St. Louis Area Operations Center

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Regular readers of Urban Review – St. Louis know I have a thing for bike racks. Most often it is either the lack of bike racks, wrong type being used or the right type in the wrong place. My focus to date has been on bike parking for the general public — at local stores and shopping districts. For me going to work is walking downstairs to my office. But for most people going to work means heading to an office. Such is the case for my friend Jeff Jackson.

Jeff lives in North St. Louis County and works for US Bank in Olivette. This is not a branch location but instead a 300+ person operations center supporting their home mortgage officers in 26 states. In other words, an ideal place to have bike racks aimed at employees rather than customers.

Rather than finding excuses not to ride, Jeff is a committed transportation cyclist. Rain or shine, hot or cold Jeff is on his bike. Lack of proper bike parking at his workplace didn’t stop him either. He simply asked for what he wanted. Although it took some time to get it done, US Bank was receptive to Jeff’s request for bike parking. Sometimes all it takes to bring about change is asking a few questions of the right people.

Earlier this month two new bike racks were installed at the US Bank Olivette Operations Center in Olivette MO where Jeff works.
These two racks combined can accommodate a total of eight (8) bikes. The racks are an offset wave rack. These function very well as they support the bike in two places in much the same way an inverted-U rack does. These are great where you want to parking for more than two bikes.


“Bicycle Commuting to work has been a challenge for me (weather, darkness etc). But I wouldn’t change it for the world. It has made me a more productive worker, kept me healthy, less stressed and more focused. I appreciate that US Bank has put in new bike racks showing that it supports bicycle commuting as a valid alternative to the automobile. They are in turn making investments in their employees that will reap benefits in the long term.”

– Jeff Jackson

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The lesson here is if you want bike facilities at your workplace you may have to ask for it. Many employers many not be aware additional facilities would be helpful. I applaud Jeff’s efforts to make commuting by bike to his workplace easier for himself and others.

– Steve

 

St. Louis’ City Museum: One of the World’s Great Spaces

August 3, 2005 Local Business 5 Comments

St. Louis’ City Museum was named one of the World’s “great spaces” in the Project for Public Space’s August 2005 newsletter:

The City Museum is like an amusement park in the middle of downtown St. Louis. It occupies an old shoe factory–a Depression-era relic that sculptor Bob Cassilly and his partners have brought back to life with a fantastically imaginative collection of play spaces, exhibits, and sculptures. Many attractions, like the multi-story slides (which visitors use as downward escalators), awe-inspiring underground cave system, and the interactive sculpture called MonstroCity (above), take advantage of the building’s unique spaces and industrial character. The museum invites its visitors to create and interact with exhibits. A tavern on the first floor called the Cabin Inn occupies a transplanted 19th century log cabin and is a popular venue for local musicians.

City Museum is just one of many great emerging spaces in downtown St. Louis. Kudos to Bob Cassilly for his vision and determination. The introduction to the piece read:

Ten lively locations–from a dazzling museum in St. Louis to an exciting market plaza in Brazil–are now being inducted to PPS’s authoritative Great Public Spaces website.

Nine additional places were added to the growing list. Stanley Park, Vancouver, BC; Jardin Juarez and Market Hall, Juchitan, Mexico; Museum of Modern Art Interior and Sculpture Garden, New York, NY; Kungsportsavenyn, Göteborg, Sweden; Devon Street, Chicago, IL; Largo Glênio Peres, Porto Alegre, Brazil; Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison, WI; Dapper Market, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; and Trg Bana Jelacica, Zagreb, Croatia
For more information on PPS see their website.

Not bad company we are keeping these days.

– Steve

 

Downtown Partnership’s Jim Cloar Takes Action to Keep Parking off Washington Avenue

Nearly two weeks ago the Mayor’s blog reported that a new central business district traffic study was being performed. The announcement came two days after I posted that we needed parking on Washington Avenue East of Tucker.

Today Downtown St. Louis Partnership President Jim Cloar included the following in his weekly notes to members:

Curb-side parking is prohibited along Washington Avenue east of Tucker. Some “entrepreneurial” motorists realized that “No Parking” signs had not been installed and have been camping out all day, playing havoc with buses, delivery trucks and traffic in general. That has been corrected and tickets will be issued going forward.

The stupidity of his statement is so infuriating. Where does one begin?
… Continue Reading

 

Big Boxes Closing Left and Right

June 20, 2005 Local Business 4 Comments

Seems that the prime location of Brentwood & 40 (aka I-64 to non St. Louisans) didn’t help a couple of big boxes stay around. For weeks we’ve seen the “store closing” signs at the Ultimate Electronics store on Eager. Now I get word that Organized Living on Brentwood is closing. The stories are very similar.

Ultimate Electronics is in bankruptcy and is selling off stores to pay debt. The new buyers in the St. Louis area have decided to close at least the Eager location — I’m not sure about the others. Click here for more details from the St .Louis Business Journal.

Organized Living at one time had several stores in the St. Louis area including Union Station. In 2004 they hired a new CEO but she was “laid off” last month along with other employees as OL also enters Chapter 11 bankruptcy. One of the first tasks the new CEO did was to move OL’s headquarters from Kansas City to central Ohio. They were trying to go national and had 25 stores. For more background click here.

Big boxes also have big debt. Don’t think these out of town chain stores are going to help our local economies by providing sales taxes and jobs. They take what they can out of our economy until they go bust. They couldn’t care less about St. Louis.

– Steve

 

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