Changing face: Coming and going on West Main
Take a good look at West Main Street now, because a few years down the road the view will be decidedly different. With Coran Capshaw's Walker Square apartments going up just behind the Amtrak station, the widespread renovation (some might say gentrification) of Fifeville– not to mention the city's new development-friendly zoning ordinance– buildings will be bigger and lots more plentiful. At the storefront level on West Main, change is in the air. Here are a few of the adieus and bonjours...
701 West Main
Energy & Rhythm
Owner Aaron Hawkins didn't want to talk about moving out of his space, but it's for rent.
703 West Main
JNT Hair Design
Jermell Walker moved his four-man salon from Druid Avenue to this former dojo in January, 2003. So far, the change has been good. "It's a great location," says Walker. "There's a lot more exposure than on Druid Avenue. We get a lot of walk-ins."
711 West Main
You won't find antique store Needful Things any longer, but if you need a temp, you just might find what you're looking for at National Temporary, a day labor staffing agency that opened here three weeks ago.
"It's a great traffic count for our customers," says Manager Lisa Salmon. "We were looking at a location on Avon Street, but the demographics showed that West Main Street is the place to be."
913 West Main
On West Main, businesses can be divided into the haves and the have nots. The precious commodity? Parking, says Gary Alter, who ran the Camera Center at 913 W. Main St. for the last 25 years. (It opened in 1949, and was tied with Kane Furniture, he says, as West Main's oldest business.) Frustrated by a lack of parking spots for his customers, many of them women with small children, and by what he sees as a lack of city support for businesses on West Main, Alter says he closed the West Main store on March 26 and consolidated business at his Seminole Square location, which he opened 14 years ago. Since Alter owns the Main Street building, he'll have some say over its use. So what'll it be?
"I haven't decided yet if I'm going to rent or sell," says Alter.
PHOTOS BY JEN FARIELLO