Super Burrito is gone.
I've told this story before, but it bears repeating.
Around 1995 or 1996, my wife started to lobby to sell our mall store. It was still profitable, so I resisted. But our north end section of the mall started to get really weak. I'd go into K-Mart and see half empty shelves and no customers. The restaurant across from us had a series of vendors who would pack up and leave in the middle of the night. The 4-plex theater started getting the dregs of movies once the Pilot Butte theater was built. And so on.
The south end had always been sort of weak, and now the north end was looking just as bad. But I thought, maybe if the other merchants banded together, maybe started a program of helping enlist and help new businesses, or to reinforce existing businesses, maybe something could be done. I was admittedly vague, and even now I don't know exactly what we could've done.
So I started working my way toward the center of the mall, talking to other merchants. The closer I got to the center, the more dissed I felt. Finally, a couple of stores that shall remain nameless in their utter stupidity, said to me,
"We're doing great! What wrong with you?"
"We have gangrene at both ends of the mall," I said. "Doesn't that concern you?"
"No," they both said. "Go take care of your own business...."
So I marched back to my wife's store and said, "You're right. These people can't see what coming, let's sell."
By the beginning of 1997, we had sold out. The store and the mall went on for another 5 years of so, slowly dying, and I counted myself lucky.
Super Burrito is gone. Just few years ago, I did a survey of that building, and every one of the tenants said they weren't worried. They had leases. Everything was just fine. I shook my head. The new owners had said, "We don't plan on any changes...." which means RUN! RUN AWAY!
So the building is going to have almost complete turnover. The St.Clair building had total turnover. The Franklin Crossing corner had complete turnover. The Old Mattress factory building had complete turnover. The four closest buildings to mine have had COMPLETE TURNOVER!
Now, I think I have good landlords. I believe them when they say they aren't intending to make any changes. But the momentum of downtown change itself may force the issue. The owner may get an offer he can't refuse. He may like my store, but that doesn't mean he won't want to charge the going rate. This rate would be about 35% more than I'm currently paying per foot, and nearly twice as much as I'd be paying at my second location.
I'm still a believer in downtown. So the solution to me is to have two locations, and enough flexibility to adapt the circumstances.
I had really horrible dreams last night. I dreamed I came to my store, and it was unlocked. I had a complete meltdown with my employees.
Now normally, I consider my dreams to be opposite of what's happening in my life. Happy dreams when things aren't going well, horrible dreams when they are. It's like my subconscious is trying to create a balance.
But I woke up, thinking of all the bad experiences I've had with employees over the years (I've had good ones, as well, of course but this was a really bad dream, I'm telling ya,) and thinking maybe I'm just not ready.
This kind of vacillation drives my wife nuts, but it's how I make my decisions. I accumulate data and feelings until I finally know what I want to do. Meanwhile, obviously I think I'm going to do it because I've already spent 6k on product for the new store. I guess I feel I have until I sign on the dotted line....
Meanwhile, just for chuckles, there is a new sign in the Kuishindo Kitchen space -- I believe it says "KIDSPORT, a kid's clothing store..."
(Edited: the store is called TREEFORT.) (Kind of a cool name, actually.)
3 days ago