We had hardly completed our posting about the new Bob Marley photo exhibit at antique store Maison Michel when we got word that the store had, in fact, closed its doors earlier in the week. Maison Michel thus joins a lengthening list of departing Madison Park businesses. The store had seen its share of troubles, experiencing a burglary during the summer of 2009, and a hasty departure last spring from its previous location in the infamous Madison Street building of Constance Gillespie. The store moved to its current location in the Villa Marina building on 43rd Avenue E. last summer, joining forces with McQuesten Fine Arts to include an art gallery component.
The sudden departure of Maison Michel is certainly not welcome news for Villa Marina's owner, Lakeside Capital Management, which is attempting to push the retail core of the Village a little closer to the Lake. Lakeside has just finished building out a new (and interestingly configured) retail space in the building, right next door to the now-departed Maison Michel. The "For Lease" sign on that unit went up last week. But 43rd is a bit off the beaten path for Madison Park shoppers, and it has been reported to us that Maison Michel's owner, Michael Schoonmaker, was complaining about the lack of foot traffic past his store almost from the moment he arrived. And while the street is not entirely devoid of retail, there's certainly not much.
In fact, apart from the Madison Park Conservatory directly across the street, the only business drawing foot traffic to the street, as far as we know, is Terzo Salon, the rebranded remnant of Spa del Lago. The salon moved into the Villa Marina building earlier in year, leaving its former space across the street vacant. So by our count, that means three retail units on 43rd now awaiting tenants.