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What Should Go Here?

Tell us in the comments, right below this article.

What would you like to see move into these vacant spots in downtown ? They're on Bankhead Highway, between the new Munchies resuarant and the old Western Auto shop, which is now a bicycle repair and sales store.

Cynthia B February 03, 2012 at 04:42 PM
If we are looking for a hip place to attract people to Douglasville, we should look to convert the old RV dealership on Fairburn Rd. into something attractive. Everything closes so early in D'ville, there is no "night life" to speak of.
margaret aikens February 03, 2012 at 04:48 PM
I like some of the above ideas, too! Especially the butcher shop and the driver's license hub. But I'd love to see an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. Circa 1950s sort of thing would be fun. Kids in uniforms with hats and ties behind the counter... maybe have some burgers and fries. I don't know if it'd last but it would be fun.
John Barker (Editor) February 03, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Wow. Cynthia B, you have been thinking about this. All fabulous suggestions.
John Barker (Editor) February 03, 2012 at 04:50 PM
That's also a great idea Margaret, that building looks perfect for an ice cream parlor, like you're suggesting.
LeeR February 03, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Several years back, either that building or the space to the left was going to be The Vortex restaurant. Unfortunately, the business deal fell through.
Jan February 03, 2012 at 06:14 PM
A comedy club would be fun. We don't have anything like that close to Douglasville
Naomi February 03, 2012 at 06:26 PM
i agree with the ice cream parlor.. i dont know that building as i just moved here but i would do an old feel ice cream spot that also serves simple burgers fries and hot dogs. make it feel like a family spot but hip enough for the teens to want to hang out after school with milk shakes and pictures of people/nature/places from around town.
Angela February 03, 2012 at 06:44 PM
I miss the antique stores that were on the strip.... Now it's all restaurants with nothing to do.....
Charles Branson February 03, 2012 at 07:11 PM
We need some sort of college downtown. It would create traffic for the restaurants, entertainment and shops. The College of Charleston helped downtown Charleston, and SCAD worked wonders for downtown Savannah. These colleges absorbed and restored vacant buildings near their campuses, and businesses bought the rest.
Lynn Hubbard February 03, 2012 at 07:11 PM
A bookstore! The more the merrier!
TTaylor February 03, 2012 at 11:09 PM
A coffee shop / bookstore!
Lisa Cooper February 03, 2012 at 11:20 PM
I like the idea of a butcher shop....specialty type foods. I wish we could persuade Patak Meats to open up on Broad Street. :)
Chris M February 04, 2012 at 12:24 PM
I love all these suggestions. I think the downtown area has so much potential! The architecture is wonderful, with the trains going by, but it does lack "life". As an entertainer, I think it would be GREAT if Douglasville had some nightlife - you have to drive out of town and spend your money elsewhere if you want to have an evening out. A place with live music on the weekends would be great. You could even combine the idea of a bookstore / coffee shop (great idea!) with the "hippy" aesthetic, and have local area bands and local entertainers perform on Friday and Saturday nights - a throwback to the coffeehouse. I also love the idea of: a good butcher shop/specialty grocery store; a college satellite campus; the Vortex (I think that got shelved due to liquor laws - not sure); a really great antique shop (maybe one where several vendors rent booths, to get a good variety); a drivers license office (yeah!). My suggestions - an art gallery for local area artists to show and sell their work; a nighclub; a New Age or mind/body bookshop (like Phoenix and Dragon in Sandy Springs) with yoga and meditation classes, and the like. And John? How about the Farmers building, on the corner down there? What's the deal with that building?
Chris M February 04, 2012 at 12:28 PM
OH! One more thing...Cartersville's downtown has it nailed. What a great little town, with a live theater, pubs and great, unique specialty stores, from clothing to antiques to "New Age"! And their diner is the best around. All of this in Cartersville? Who woulda' thought. Dville is alot closer to Atlanta than Cartersville...we should have some of the same types of stores and businesses.
Liz February 04, 2012 at 01:10 PM
You are right about Cartersville. It has a great variety of shops, restaurants, antiques, an old theater. The downtown layout is a little easier to maneuver, as it is square, plus they have the Booth Museum in rock throwing distance, which is a great draw. One of the longtime businesses they have which would be unique tp the area is Psycho Sisters - they have one at Little Five Points too, I believe - and it is a funky little boutique. They have had their problems, too, with stores closing and vacant buildings, but if they can pull off such a culturally rich community, we should be able to as well.
James Buckner February 04, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Trader Joe's
Marsha Clark February 04, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Love the idea of a coffee house/bookstore (and maybe unique gifts) with local entertainers - musicians, comedians, etc. Open mic night thing sometimes?
Karen Sawyer February 04, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Although I like the bookstore/coffee idea, unfortunately, bookstores are having a hard time making it everywhere. With the readers like Nook and Kindle as competition, even the big companies are closing...like Borders. I like the idea of a 50's type diner or ice cream store with a jukebox, but parking downtown has always been a problem on Bankhead. Now we've lost the public parking lot on Church street for some time. If I were the one opening the new business, parking for my customers would be a major concern to me. I also like the idea of a true butcher shop but I wonder if we could sustain it; downtown might be too far for some people to drive for great meat cuts. A cafe (Railroad or Railway Cafe??) that specializes in breakfasts might go over well. Local business people and citizens could stop in before work for breakfast or coffee and a roll. Residents would have a place to go where they might be greeted by friendly folks who know their name or welcome visitors...much like Gumbeaux does for lunch. You don't find that in the big chains. In my opinion, right now downtown just doesn't have the parking needed for night life. I wish it did. By the way, how many square feet of space would the business have? That will help determine the type of business that might consider the building.
Jody Miller February 04, 2012 at 03:39 PM
This is exactly what I was thinking!! We need a place in town to buy books, relax with friends over coffee, all the things we've been missing since Borders Bookstore closed.
Chris M February 04, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Great points...especially re: parking being paramount to sustaining the customer flow, and re: bookstores having a hard time. And I love the "Railway Cafe" idea.
Chris M February 04, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Yes! Something where local entertainers can showcase their talents. Love it.
Chris M February 04, 2012 at 04:12 PM
I love the idea of a Trader Joe's. That would be great, but again, as Karen pointed out, gotta' think about parking - Trader's gets LOTS of customers - they're usually pretty crowded.
Angela Goins February 04, 2012 at 04:49 PM
I'd rent a spot in a heartbeat in an antique / Psycho Sisters type store..... No doubt! I'd also love a bakery! Yum!
LeeR February 04, 2012 at 04:58 PM
A Trader Joe's would need at least the minimum square footage in a building like Aldi's. The one next to Piedmont Park is in a former grocery store space. The space being discussed here is relatively small. Cafe sized. The space is now gutted, but has a great facade. It will take a lot of capital outlay to put any kind of business in there.
Richard Nichols February 05, 2012 at 04:25 PM
I would suggest that any company wishing to open a business there be one that doesn't involve cooking or anything that could start a fire. The building is connected to many other businesses and empty spaces with old timbers. There are "fire walls" between them but one really hot fire can bring down a block. Just sayin' Broad Street in that area doesn't need more traffic. A walk-in place of some kind would be fine, but a drivers-license renewal center would shut down main street.
Jill Lilly February 06, 2012 at 02:12 PM
I love this idea...just as West Ga. has a great little night life/daytime activities, as well. I think this could possibly breathe just the right kind of "life" into our town. And it would possibly be LASTING...not like some places who build, decide to rebuild and leave the town or area empty and starving. I truly think this is a wonderful idea.
Jill Lilly February 06, 2012 at 02:16 PM
I, too, like this idea. I truly have missed Borders, but it would have to be something that's constantly trying to bring in new business, different things to do...book clubs, Borders had the occasional Trivia, etc. Needs to be on the pulse of what the community is looking for in non-alcoholic entertainment!
Jill Lilly February 06, 2012 at 02:18 PM
LOVE LOVE LOVE Psycho Sisters! Junkman's Daughter...all of those neat little stores!
Terry Miller February 06, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Speaking as the architect who designed the renovation of the space, all of your comments are most welcome for ideas to fill it. Unfortunately, now we have to actually get a real business to occupy it. To answer some of the questions about the space, it is 3,000 square feet and the owner (Michael Benoit) would like to lease it as a whole, rather than subdivide it. There is no grease trap currently available although there have been discussions within the city to build a "common" grease trap in the Plaza East, now under construction behind the building. Speaking of which, one of the nicer features is that it opens onto that future public space, which will be a nice amenity. Also, we designed the space to be as flexible as possible, so that it can work with just about any type of business that can fill it. We left the original brick walls exposed as an attractive feature as well. As a nearby neighbor of this particular building, I would look forward to just about any of the above suggestions, especially the book store/coffee shop idea!
Lucy Mercer February 09, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Everybody loves pie, right? Here's what I think should go in this space: a pie shop like PieLab. What do you think? http://douglasville.patch.com/blog_posts/what-douglasville-needs-pie-lab

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