Orange Street News

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Struggling Business Owners Search for Answers in Grove

11/20/2016

By Hilde Kate Lysiak

As businesses continue to struggle in Selinsgrove owners search for answers.

Velocity Firearms, located on Market Street in Selinsgrove, recently told the Orange Street News that his gun selling store might have to shut its doors in January.

“Its unfortunate, but we just aren’t making a lot of sales,” Margel told the OSN.

Margel wouldn’t be alone. Earlier this year the Hip Hop Hippy Shop shut its doors after only being opened a few months.

Last March, an Orange Street News investigation revealed that out of the forty-seven store fronts on Market Street between West Pine and University Avenue nearly one fifth are empty or for rent and that number doesn’t include the buildings that are houses or apartments.

Domenico Napoli, who owns Bella’s Pizzeria on Market Street, says he often wonders why so many stores are struggling in Selinsgrove.

“I would really love to have an answer,” he told the Orange Street News. “Its a beautiful downtown. Its very nice. Its a nice university. You would think every store would be full.”

Napoli believes that one of the reasons might be that too many people are skipping the downtown and shopping at the strip or the mall.

“You need to do something different downtown rather than have the same items all the time. There is no variety. There is no reason why someone would come downtown and shop because there is nothing to shop for anymore.  A shoe store, anything that would attract the female demographic area. You know if the woman wants to shop the husband will follow,” said Napoli.

Another possible reason: there aren’t enough people on the sidewalks, according to Subway manager Christopher Carr.

“There just aren’t a lot of people out shopping and buying things,” Carr told the OSN.

Other business owners point to the high rents, especially compared to busier towns like Lewisburg.

Earlier this year Opening a 3,000 square foot first floor business at 113 N Market Street would cost $2,000 a month plus a $2,000 security deposit, according to Weichert Real Estate website. Meanwhile, a place in Lewisburg that is nearly the same size and is a “prime downtown location update interior finish, 3 display areas, 2 offices, storage room, kitchenette & 3/4 bath” is being advertised for $995.00 per month on Craig’s List and includes water, sewer, trash.

Some business owners say that town officials don’t understand business and that leads to problems. Last month when new business Vivace Music cut down a tree on his own property, instead of working with the owner, the town fined him.

“I assumed the tree was part of my landscaping. I didn’t even think that it would belong to the borough…,” Fisher told the Orange Street News.

Helen Walter, President of the Chamber of Commerce and owner of Cottage on Pine, believes that one of the problems is that so many people don’t know about the downtown.

“My focus with the Chamber of Commerce is to let people know our town is here,” Helen told the OSN. “To let people know there is this charming little town here and that its a fun place to go to get away from the busyness and have a unique experience for Christmas.”

Walter pointed out that 33 local business joined together to advertise for Christmas.

Its not all bad news for Selinsgrove, earlier this year the Wicked Dog opened on Market Street. It is often packed with hot dog loving costumers.

“We have some really unique shops in town,” added Walters.

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8 comments on “Struggling Business Owners Search for Answers in Grove

  1. Linda Derr
    November 21, 2016

    Regarding downtown. It is a fact that most of what we have is second hand stores, bars and eating establishments. Just county them. How many fast food places do we need? Yes, Country Squire and the book store are wonderful places and there is a great jewelry store but I’m going to the mall to buy gifts for my grandchildren, clothing for myself and family, small appliances etc. Late shoppers night, not for me as there is not much I would buy…not looking for a musical instrument or used items for gifts for family. We need small boutique stores, gift stores. Promoting more with SU. More community activities..and not just pet parades. Take a page from Lewisburg…they have stores on the strip, and still have a vibrant downtown.

    Like

  2. Anonymous
    November 21, 2016

    I agree that we need boutique stores I need to go to Danville or lewisburg to get gifty items for Christmas , birthdays,etc. when the Governor Snyder Boutique was in town it got so crowded weekends and Holidays and this is what we need to bring back. Not charging outrageous high rent and work with the business and not nit-pic As soon as a small mistake is made . To much bullying going on in our town that some are so eager to make public !!! How inviting is that to bringing new business into our town ??????

    Like

    • Evelyn Adams
      November 22, 2016

      You are so right! I have known many business owners who closed up shop in Selinsgrove because of bullying by council and nasty so-called “upper-class” citizens.

      Like

  3. Mr. Jones
    November 21, 2016

    The University students don’t support any downtown businesses (unless they sell beer), but then again, the downtown does nothing to support SU. Look at downtown Lewisburg, Bloomsburg, & State College. You cannot deny they are college towns. SU? A few street pole signs. Why isn’t the bookstore downtown? Why isn’t there a college merchandise shop?
    The downtown commitees need to go look at a place like Wellsboro Pa. and get some insight in how to do it right. Instead of attacking businesses over sign permits and trees, the borough should focus on reigning in landlord rents, finding new & innovative signing techniques, and controlling the number of duplicate businesses (we don’t need anymore pizza shops!).mr. j
    Another factor is the continued emphasis on the Street Fair & Late Shoppers Night. Two end of the year events that get 99% of the town’s focus. And the street fair actually cuts into the downtown business, as very few people go inside except to ask for bathrooms. They should move the fair to Snyder Co park or Kidsgrove area and make it a weekend festival late summer. Then plan something for spring of a simikar but smaller nature.

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