Saturday, June 21, 2008
In the 1980s, members of a city agency charged with downtown revitalization envisioned a return to Plainfield's days as a shopping mecca with quality merchandise. Alas, no fine leather goods shops ever appeared and the logo of Louis Vuitton is nowhere to be seen. Business is good, but shopping is still decidedly low-end. Above, a display of party goods.
A Front Street newsstand that also sold cell phones and gifts has recently been replaced by a new 99-cent store.
While many people enjoy shopping downtown, the range of goods drives some of us out of town. Another issue is tripled rents that have driven longtime merchants out of the central business district. The shift to stores with broader appeal has not taken place. Multiple cell phone stores and outlets for electronic goods dominate the downtown.
Some great entrepreneurial minds have studied how Plainfield's downtown can be revitalized. So far, the offerings are not even close to the glorious retail days of yore. Is what we have realistically the best we can do? Comments are welcome.