Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A new addition to the retail core

Park Bench Gifts set to open in October

Though some have argued otherwise, it's not true there are basically only three kinds of businesses left in Madison Park:  eateries, spas and banks.  While the business district (known to many as The Village) has lost some major establishments over the years (The Yankee Peddler, Madison Park Books, and Nubia's immediately come to mind), it's also true that retail remains a vital part of what makes Madison Park both a pleasant and convenient place to live and an attractive destination for people from outside the neighborhood.

It's been rumored for several weeks that The Village was about to get a boost to its "critical mass" with the arrival of a second retail shop in the Villa Marina building.  John Sheard, the owner and operator of two successful Madison Park businesses (Cookin' and Red Wagon Toys) today acknowledged that he will soon be opening a third retail store here, thus reaffirming his faith in the neighborhood as a solid retail venue.  The new shop, Park Bench Gifts, is expected to be in operation well before the holiday season gets underway.  It will be located at 1928 43rd Avenue E. (Suite 9), further helping pull the retail core of the neighborhood up 43rd Street.

"We are delighted to have such a strong and successful business owner as John joining our other established businesses, Ropa Bella and Terzo Salon," says Dennis Daugs, principal of Lakeside Capital Management, which owns Villa Marina. It has been Daugs' goal to coax more retail into that corridor. Besides the Villa Marina shops, the only other non-restaurant retail establishment on 43rd is the newly reopened Spa del Lago, across the street.

Park Bench Gifts' new manager, Jan Yoder, told us she thinks it's in the best interests of all Madison Park businesses to have more, rather than fewer, retails shops in the neighborhood since it helps the area retain its reputation as a destination shopping district.  She reports that while some of the details are still to be worked out, "we are definitely going to have a different feel from anything else in the neighborhood."

Construction on leasehold improvements should begin shortly, with October 1 as the hoped for grand-opening date.

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