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What Would You Like To See In This Empty Storefront?

Here's an empty storefront in the Petco Plaza. What business would you like to see "fill this spot?"

Here's another empty storefront in Clinton. What would you like to see go into the former golf store?

This is at the Petco Plaza which houses a Dunkin Donuts, AT&T store, Cold Stone Creamery ice cream shop, Oreck Clean Home Center and Better Bedding mattress store.

What might be a nice addition to this shopping center (besides more coffee, ice cream, kibble and mattresses)? Well, now's your chance to add your two cents to what you think would be a nice addition this plaza.

Click here to read about what types of business suggestions were offered on last week's article which was about an empty building on East Main Street near the Indian River.

Patch will forward your suggestions to the town's Economic Development Commission.

Nancy Cordero February 18, 2012 at 12:13 PM
how about a Dollar store so the low income people have somewhere to shop!!
Rachel Schemmerling February 18, 2012 at 12:33 PM
Subway or D'angelo's or something like that?
Husky February 18, 2012 at 01:03 PM
We already have a dollar store...it's called job lot
Joann Norman February 18, 2012 at 01:28 PM
I would love to see a Subway, or Quiznos!
Vindaloo February 18, 2012 at 02:24 PM
We also have a subway. It's next to the Job Lot.
Mark Koschwitz February 18, 2012 at 02:34 PM
I sure wouldn't mind a Five Guys. Don't think there is one closer than Lyme. Bacon Cheeseburger, fries, and Coldstone for dessert...you could do worse. Not sure there is enough parking in that lot for one though.
Elizabeth February 18, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Would love to see Panera! More high end and much healthier alternative to other chain restaurants.
Elizabeth February 18, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Dont you think we should set the bar higher than another fast food chain? Our families deserve better and healthier food. Panera is certainly a better alternative.
Mark February 18, 2012 at 05:13 PM
A Five Guys or a Sonic in the old Friendly's would do very well.
Sheldon Potesak jr. February 18, 2012 at 05:20 PM
I heard Five Guys is trying to go into the old Friendly's. Another fast food chain like Sonic is not needed. Panera would be very nice addition.
Jay February 18, 2012 at 10:35 PM
It is not for us to suggest anything - I doubt any have ever Successfully run a retail store. Here's what anyone renting a location faces 1. Rent - minimum for a location like this $2,000 + a month. 2. Utilities food $1000+, stock $600. 3. Franchise Fees ? A minimum every month plus a % of the gross. $3,000 plus. 4. Employees - salary plus benefits, etc - $3 - 400 a week. 5. Misc - Insurance, etc $ 200 + a week. Then the biggies 1.. Redecoration - Food $150,000 retail - maybe half, 2. buying stock $300,000 - $ 1 million. (My numbers are probably dated - the recession has an underbelly no one talks about - Inflation. ) Beginning to see the real problem ? It is called the "Nut". The Nut sits there every day, every week, every month and has to be paid - before you can even hope to make enough to pay your salary and, ha ha, a profit.. Bookstores, gift shops, art galleries, etc all have serious Nuts as well -- though there is a free lunch if someone has a sugar daddy willing to pay for a relative to " have fun". All the rest pay cash. PS I was surprised the golf store survived this long - golf is not a big deal anymore as the playing public dies off.
Fay Abrahamsson (Editor) February 18, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Jay - I think you would be surprised by the number of successful business owners along the shoreline. If everyone boo-hooed ideas and dreams, where would this country be right now?
Jay February 19, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Right where it is - digging itself out of another boom bust. Fools rush in where wise men stand and watch. During the 16th century Holland went financially bust over the unwise speculation in Tulip bulbs. Yes, tulips. Hollanders paid thousands of dollars for certain spuds - ended up like the beenie babies or trading cards. the current mess was caused by the complete relaxation of lending rules that had worked very well since after WW2. Thanks to the foolishness of Greenspan and greed of the home building and financial industry, we are up to our ears in DEBT. I learned early on to get real nervous around "positive people" and always let them go out the door first.
Fran M. February 19, 2012 at 03:45 AM
I'd be very excited for a "Five Guys" (replacing Friendly's) and a Panera (replacing Golf etc.). Yes Jay, the financial/lending industries screwed us badly...personally, I'm not a big fan of the concept of "Too big to fail" (bailouts don't promote fiscal discipline, in my opinion)... but Clinton wouldn't be "wise" to "stand and watch" our businesses disappear. This is where I think the RTC has it right-- our mill rate is too high to attract business. If a business (small, mid, etc.) wanted to establish a presence on our immediate shoreline, why would they choose Clinton, when they could have an equally good location in Westbrook or Madison, etc. and pay much less in taxes??
andrea February 19, 2012 at 04:49 AM
Uh... I think that C-Town has long been since in dire need of a Panera. If not here, then at the Outlets!
Nancy Cordero February 19, 2012 at 11:25 AM
not a true Dollar store!
Bradford J. Sullivan February 19, 2012 at 11:32 AM
I was recently speaking to a member of the RTC about attracting business to Clinton and he asked me to consider the drive down Route 81 south to Main Street. Have you ever noticed how terrible the sidewalks and some of the yards look on this stretch of road from the Shell Station to the railroad bridge? Spending the appropriate amount to revitalize our business district is what will attract entrepreneurs to Clinton. The most important thing is ensuring that folks who live in town also patronize local businesses and not go out of town for goods and services you can get in your hometown.
Bradford J. Sullivan February 19, 2012 at 11:52 AM
Hammonasset traffic in the summer would allow a good restaurant to rake it in. Get out your rake if a Five Guys takes over the Friendly's space.
Rob A February 19, 2012 at 01:07 PM
Five Guys @ Friendly's, Panera in Petco Plaza! Two great ideas! Just no more package stores or pizza joints...
Vindaloo February 19, 2012 at 03:12 PM
The space on Glenwood Road is renting for about $3000/mo. The Friendly's building is renting for over $6300/mo. At those prices, it's gonna be difficult to fill those spaces. A health food market or something like Panera would be great in either place. I don't mind one (1) more fast food place. MD's has no competion. I think Five Guys or Taco Bell, but they usually need a drive thru. We have a dollar store "Job Lot". There is a subway in the same plaza, which is next to MD's. That whole complex needs a facelift.
Vindaloo February 19, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Madison rents are usually considerably higher, so it works out. It's as good a location as any, maybe better. I wish we could really choose who we want in each location, we wouldn't have certain places here if we could. It's really up to each business to decide if that's a profitable place for them. But letting the town know what we would like to see happen or not happen to our town is very important and could make a big difference. So far I like all the ideas. Nancy C is right about also considering low income families. A community worth living in is one that has something for everyone. A true dollar store would be nice somewhere in town.
Jay February 19, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Catherine - thank you for the update on renting space - now we know why it costs $7 for breakfast . Suggest you all log on to www. walkscore.com - there is an interesting surprise there. You should all be aware of the potential massive changes at the exit 63 retail situation if the high school is sold to a retail mall. Rents are based on car traffic - counts are done by the state every so often and are available. The Post road does around 10,000 a day in the winter - maybe double in summer . The retail success of Exit 63 is due to the massive traffic flowing to and from Killingworth and north all day long. Forget "downtown" as a tax producer - This is the area that you focus on developing. Downtown is for cute and is essentially a wash, without massive $$$ spent ripping down buildings and widening it, same same as Madison or Saybrook , it is simply not worth the ink picking over.
Vindaloo February 19, 2012 at 04:56 PM
As has been mentioned in other comments, there is parking in Clinton Center. I do very well from visitors from Hammonasset, the marinas, campgrounds, the hotels etc. in the summer and much business from local people all year. The center is in need of improvement, but it's certainly not a wash. Yes, it's probably the place for more unique (cute) businesses, but we shouldn't be focusing on RT 81 only. That will only draw more attention away from our center. We need to look at both.
Vindaloo February 19, 2012 at 05:40 PM
I did check out the walkscore website. It shows Clinton center as very walkable. 87 amenities within 1 mile and they don't even list my store and several other places. One thing people must know is that big box stores are looking to scale down. Even they're have trouble competing with the internet, including their own sites. Brick and mortar is hard to support in these times. We could never have a Walmart here because retail stores need to have at least a 20 mile distance between, otherwise they just compete with themselves. There's a Walmart 7.5 miles in 1 direction,and about 12 in the other. That's why our town center is so important. It's the perfect location for small business, which is where the future is going...small business and the internet...not big box with high overhead. Malls are becoming a thing of the past. I've read articles about Target looking to downsize a lot of their locations and subletting a portion of their buildings. They just reduced all their prices to gain some edge. I do think that a Whole Foods or Costco might do well on 81. There isn't one of those nearby.
Jay February 19, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Think Home Depot at Exit 63 - that or Lowes - they have been trying for years to locate on this side of the river - PS humans do not cross bridges to shop - weird little factoid --
Steve Bristol February 20, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Brad, Funny, I had mentioned the exact same thing to my older son last week when he saw Friendly's was empty. There had originally been talk of them in the old KFC in OS but that was nothing more than rumor. The only downside---besides cardio-vascular health---is that horrible intersection. It was bad enough with a Friendly's. Of course, they could probably annex the burned out garage next door..or maybe even Madison Garage. Personally. I'd like to see a Chipotle's Mexican Grill hit town but I'll settle for whatever fills our growing number of empty places. Steve

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