By Pam Fitzpatrick
Well, last column of the year – and what a year! We lost our Candy Connection (which meant no chocolate cornucopia this year…), but gained “Frooza” in its place; Copper Still Grill finally opened in the 600 block (after almost 5 years of construction…); we lost the Sow House and gained Craft Hill, then lost Craft Hill and will soon (I hope) gain Basin 141; we lost Saga Art Gallery and State Farm Insurance (with no new tenants yet); Parchment was replaced by Grey & Cash (coffee house with delicious breakfasts and lunches), and both Bottega and Myrtle Tree made some noticeable changes: Bottega is less retail, more food service with added tables and delicious menu items, and Myrtle Tree has less market items, but still has a great deli, added seating area and expanded wine and coffee bars. One of the biggest changes in Old Town was to what was once the Krikorian Theater, then sold to Studio Market Grill. The new reclining seats and soon-to-be dinner/drinks service is proving to be a real plus for our downtown. And, sadly, we have lost Empire Bikes (a large space in the 600 block, across from Jake’s Roadhouse), and will soon be losing Old Town music, closing at the end of this month after 45 years in Old Town.
Times are changing, that is very clear, and our Old Town is changing with it. As for holiday sales, it appears that we are going to end up with a good year. It’s not over until the ball reaches the top at midnight (an only- in-Old Town original), but everything so far is pointing to a successful holiday season thanks to our many loyal patrons.
The last change of 2017 comes on Dec. 31 with our 7th Annual New Year’s Eve on Myrtle. This year, instead of having a tented Beer & Wine Garden and a section for the kiddies with bouncies and games, we will have opportunities for restaurants/bars to serve on the street, and there will be babysitting provided at the Library Park Community Room (6 p.m. to 1 p.m.). Retailers will also have the chance to sell on the sidewalk this year. The changes will not only allow for every restaurant/bar in town to sell on the street, but it will also divide the profits and expenses between merchants. In the past, although one restaurant/bar (Rudy’s) provided the liquor and staff for the Beer & Wine Garden, the profits (if any) were all given to the City (MOTAB). Last year, the losses for that one merchant were very high because of the rain, however most years there were profits to the merchant’s City account (used for future promotions). This is a really good chance for variety in our event, and it’s a welcomed shift of the burden from one merchant to the very possible profit of many.
Come out Sunday, listen to “Night Owl,” get some snacks and drinks on the street with friends, and stay for the one and only “Ball Raising” at midnight! Happy New Year!