The author missed the most important component of a vibrant downtown retail scene: people living downtown. There seems to be a perception that because there have been some apartments and condos that have opened in downtown Durham recently that there is suddenly some critical mass of people living (and thus shopping) downtown. But that's just not true. Until more people are living downtown, places like Cave Taureau are going to struggle to survive.
More troubling is the assertion that lack of parking was a big factor in the store's closing. The author makes statements like "But as downtown's parking crunch escalated, sales declined.", but provides no data to back up that assertion (anecdata is the journalist's favorite tool to support their already-defined narrative).
A PSA for potential small business owners who want to locate in the heart of downtown Durham: If your business model requires that a substantial portion of your customers will need to drive to your establishment, you will almost certainly fail. Downtowns are by their very nature the least conducive places to driving and parking because the land is too valuable for wide streets and parking lots.
Places like Cave Taureau (and other places that had relatively small shelf lives in downtown Durham like Reliable Cheese and Bar Lusconi) can only be supported if a large portion of their clientele can walk to them. These are neighborhood places in an area that is not yet a full-fledged neighborhood. They simply existed before their time.
Jesus, this paper is getting out of touch with reality...talking about Raleigh as if it only exists inside the beltline is only the 10th dumbest thing I've read this month in the Indy.
Cabrini-Green was also almost 15,000 units at full capacity. We're talking about 80-100 units here in a sea of market rate housing and right next to the main transportation hub in Durham. Making that reference was beyond unfair.
Ok. What's the permanent solution to the long-term problem, Tp?
The Mutual Savings Bank over the We Want Oprah building jut around the corner? For shame.
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