Main Street welcomes new businesses and location changes
Published: Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 16:08
With a new school year comes change, and returning students will find many as they take a stroll down Main Street.
Buildings on Main Street have changed hands and been reconstructed throughout Newark’s history, says Downtown Newark Partnership Administrator Ricky Nietubicz.
“If you go back far enough, Catherine Rooney’s was a private residence. That building has transformed into professional offices and the current state of the restaurant,” Nietubicz says. “Some buildings have even been renovated one, two, or several times over the years.”
New stores, restaurants and renovations are not the only differences students will see. Students may soon be calling a portion of Elkton Road, the downtown district up to Park Place, South Main Street. The development pattern, which is consistent with downtown Newark, is part of the reason for the name change, Nietubicz says.
“Going down Elkton Road you can see all of the development that is certainly in progress there,” Nietubicz says. “We just saw Jake’s Wayback Burgers open up, and the Greene Turtle will be opening up soon.”
In 1998, the Downtown Newark Partnership (DNP) was formed in order to enhance Newark’s business environment. Its main goal is to make Newark a better place to eat, shop and enjoy. Its focus is to try to attract businesses that add to the feel of Main Street, Nietubicz says.
“The students are not our town’s sole consumer but they are certainly a major part for the nine months that they are here,” Nietubicz says. “They are a huge consumer group that might be a little more drawn to a known name.”
Anuradha Sivaraman, assistant professor of marketing, says college students migrate towards familiar places and names. Where they have been shopping with their parents is where they are most likely to be comfortable.
With the addition of Saladworks, Main Street will provide students and Newark locals with a name they recognize. This seems to be a reoccurring theme as more chains move on to Main Street and local businesses relocate or close.
“Students have enough options that they are not going to miss one or two going out of business. Students see things as a temporary,” Sivaraman says. “It impacts the locals more when local stores go out of business.”
Sivaraman says for Main Street to gain popularity, it needs to have stores that set themselves apart from chain stores. In the long run, having chain stores will help mom-and-pop shops as chain establishments bring more foot traffic.
Recently, Main Street has lost local favorite eateries such as the Korner Diner and The Post House .
“It impacts the locals quite a lot because this is our community. If we lose something we’ve lost it forever. Students on the other hand are not thinking of the long-term,” Sivaraman says.
Sivaraman says local stores offer a distinctive product. If a product line is so unique and it cannot be found in a Walmart or Target then it is something people will go out of their way for. It makes it worth their while, she says.
Original restaurants, hobby shops and fashion stores can still be found among the well-known establishments located on Main Street. Returning students may be surprised to find their favorite stores in a new location.
Gecko Fashion has relocated to a new store on Market East Plaza. Gecko provides unique attire and accessories and focuses on customer service, owner Kay Snelling says.
“People come to me, as opposed to other chain stores, for my unique products that I buy in a limited supply so you are not going to see the same thing on everybody else,” Snelling says.
Snelling says she fell in love with Main Street because of its distinctive atmosphere and local stores. She says chains take away from what Main Street is all about.
Senior Zack Green says he thinks small businesses are important for the image of Main Street but are not very threatened by larger corporate owned establishments.
“I prefer more local business that makes UD/Main Street more unique,” Green says. “I don’t think the few chains have changed the atmosphere but it may if the staple local spots leave.”
Sophomore Allaire Stritzinger, SAS Cupcakes assistant manager, says she noticed changes in downtown Newark as she grew up in the area. Stritzinger says the store doesn’t face competition from chains on Main Street since it’s the only specialty cupcake shop, but she noticed the trend of stores trying to appeal more to the university community.
“There used to be more retail stuff on Main Street and now it’s more restaurants and bars,” Stritzinger says. “It’s gotten a little different but it’s still a great atmosphere.”