Gone, but not forgotten
As we watched an empty storefront fall to the wrecking ball this past week in order to facilitate the expansion at the Ore Dock, folks who’d been here awhile were charging up their memory banks, trying to recall the various businesses that had occupied that site over the years.
It brings to mind a number of businesses we’ve seen close their doors in the past few years, and whether or not they’ll be remembered once new activities take over their space.
The meat and potato folks still lament the closing of Bonanza, and the warm greetings offered by Mitch and Ed. Plus, there’s no salad bar or root beer floats at the walk-in center.
Most recently we’ve seen the end of Rotations, the one-man walk-in sandwich shop across from the Commons. Lack of volume, not to mention parking, probably made that a tall order from the get-go.
Pasty lovers rang in the new year knowing they’d never get to enjoy another of their favorite Cornish confections from Jean Kay’s ever again. The owner probably could have found a buyer, but apparently he didn’t want loyal fans eating his pasties unless he had a hand in making them.
Folks of a certain age will remember the old Pier One. Most recently operating as Coco’s, the Pier opened in the 70’s, back when the (legal) drinking age was 18. It had a solid following of locals and collegians until new ownership turned it into a quiet restaurant called Superior Shores. With its prime lakeshore location, one would think someone could step up and initiate a revival. Not me… but someone.
Another location with an interesting past is currently the site of Profiles Hair Design at 412 South Front. I only go back so far, but my first memory of it was in the 70’s when it was the Park Tavern. Trying to take advantage of the younger drinkers, and seeing how popular Andy’s famous peanut night was at the time, somebody turned the antiquated Park into a bar called the Traffic Jam.
One of the bartenders at the TJ was a friend of mine named Howie. He’s a little better known now as Howard… Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks. Following the bar, another friend opened a pool hall there called the Silver Cue. And now it’s strictly a clip joint… the good kind.
And of course, there’s Upfront & Company. The rumor mill is working overtime with speculation that it’ll be reopening soon. People are seen coming and going, and that’s a good sign. But as I’ve suggested with other promised developments… I’ll believe it when I see it.
Occasionally a well-established entity will announce they’re closing, to the surprise of just about everyone. Who saw the end of Finlandia? And if you go back to the early 90’s, no one thought we’d ever lose our air force base. K.I. Sawyer was said to be the first line of defense if the Russkies ever tried to come over the top. Nope. The suits in D.C. saw it differently and pulled the plug.
Some closures shock no one. We’ve all been to stores where the writing is on the wall. When Shopko was down to one open checkout lane, it was obvious that if you had something to return, you better do it sooner rather than later.
Similarly, next door neighbor OfficeMax couldn’t sell enough pencils to compete with the multiple big boxes up the road. Of course, if you’re going to claim you’re an expert in something, you better be able to back it up. When I asked the “Stationery Expert” what the difference was between a #9 and a #10 envelope, and she said she didn’t know, I immediately dumped my OfficeMax stock. All of it.
Today, it’s nice to see the Velodrome Coffee Company move into the old Jimmy John’s on North Third. That end of the street needs a little pick-me-up, and along with the 3rd Street Marketplace… which is finally coming to life, a new coffee shop will help. One wonders, however, what will happen to the storefront they’re leaving on West Washington. There’s no net gain when you open one while closing another.
Which brings me back to that building on Front St. I know it was formerly a jewelry store, and then another jewelry store, but it’s gone now, soon to be the site of the Ore Dock’s expansion, including a new outdoor area, shown above. Replacing a long-vacant building with something that caters to our craft beer thirst will prove to be addition by subtraction. Looking forward to it!
If you want to know more about the history of Marquette’s buildings and businesses, check out Jim Koski’s Pieces of the Past videos at the Marquette Regional History Center website at marquettehistory.org.
p.s. If you thought this whole bit was just so I could name drop Howard Schultz… you’re not wrong.
No better time to take the Pledge
With recent events highlighting extreme anti-social behavior nationwide, Travel Marquette’s Respect Marquette County Pledge seems to be the right thing at the right time.
Okay, it might be a little too down-homey for some folks, but isn’t that the kind of attitude we hang our hats on around here? We live and let live. We welcome strangers. We’re here for friends and neighbors.
Now you can redouble your commitment to that way of life by taking the pledge, and encouraging others to do the same. If we want to avoid living in a world where people get shot just for taking a wrong turn, then we have to be proactive in advocating for a world that lives up to our expectations.
The pledge serves as an affirmation of our commitment to each other.
Take the pledge and you’ll be registered to win a $200 Love on Local gift card. You can find the pledge here… https://www.travelmarquette.com/respect-marquette/pledge/
A Special Millage
You may or may not be aware of the upcoming Special Education Millage. There’s not a lot of talk about this “election” simply because the millage is the only item on the ballot. But even though we’re not choosing a president or voting to legalize pot, we’ll still be making an important decision.
With almost 20% of students countywide requiring some kind of special education services, those programs are facing a $5 million budget shortfall. Without the additional millage, school districts will be forced to dip into their general funds, thereby reducing their commitment to the general student population.
The tax increase to homeowners will be less than the cost of a cup of coffee a day. In fact, with the price of today’s coffee… way less, like 42¢ a day based on a $200,000 home value.
Mail-in voting is already in progress while the in-person vote is a week from next Tuesday, May 2nd.