What Would You Put in Place of Alan's Orchard?

The shop recently closed their doors. What would you like to see in its place?

Alan's Orchard, formerly located at 102 Quimby Street, has recently closed its doors.

Now that the space is vacant, Westfield Patch wants to know what you would put in its place?

The shop is 900 square feet, plus a basement.

Tell us, what do you want to see open in Westfield?
Penguin January 16, 2014 at 08:26 AM
Whatever else opens up will have just as hard a time, given the excessive rents the town of Westfield charges. When will the town stop being so greedy, and start making it feasible, once again, for independent businesses to succeed?
Concerned Westfield Citizen January 16, 2014 at 08:56 AM
The return of Gabi's Noodles
Jeff B January 16, 2014 at 09:19 AM
I agree that independent businesses face real challenges to succeed here and miss many such stores of the past. However, the Town of Westfield does not charge rents, but property taxes to property owners. Many landlords may be just as burdened as homeowners are with never ending tax increases and would have to see widespread vacancies to cut rents.
NR9 January 16, 2014 at 10:53 AM
@Penguin. From what I've heard, Alan's Orchard is actually expanding to a new location because they were doing so well with their fresh box program and needed larger space for next season's produce in the Spring/Summer of 2014. Also, the Town of Westfield does not charge rents, "excessive" or otherwise. The town of Westfield does not own those properties. Those properties are owned by investors/owners who list vacant spaces as being "for rent" and those wishing to move in agree to pay those rents or not. No one is forcing those wishing to move in to pay those amounts. They select a particular space to run their businesses based on the other vacant options they see and go with the one that they think is the best deal for them and what they want to do with the space. That's how the free markets work. "Greed" does not fit into the equation. It's all just about the basic supply and demand curve (as long as the government doesn't get involved).
Concerned Westfield Citizen January 16, 2014 at 11:39 AM
All true NR9, but the rents that are being charged in downtown Westfield are exorbitant.
Penguin January 16, 2014 at 01:29 PM
Fair point, Jeff B, about property taxes vs. rent. NR9, you say there's no greed involved; but we all know businesses that have had to close because their rents went up by outlandish amounts - Douglas, White House/Black Market and Talbots, to name just a few; and last time I looked, the Talbots space was still vacant after 2+ years. We're aware, NR9, that no one is forcing new tenants to move in; but why is it so hard, for so many of them, to survive?
NR9 January 16, 2014 at 01:51 PM
@Penguin. I understand your point. First, retail leases are typically for periods of several years (usually 5, 10, 15 or more years) with pre-defined rent increases at each anniversary year that the tenant presumably deems to be reasonable when signing the lease. What I think you’re suggesting is a belief that these property owners are just walking in and demanding higher rents, on a whim, from their tenants. The property owners cannot do that (except maybe in the movies). However, when a lease term is about to expire, the two parties can and do come up with a new rental amount for future years. Assuming the tenant and property owner have gotten along well and want to both continue, it’s in both of their best interests to not be, as you say, “greedy,” such that the business can stay afloat and such that the property owner does not have to roll the dice with a new tenant who may or may not be successful in the space, after the property owner incurs significant turnover costs in finding a new tenant. If that does not happen and space does not rent out quickly (as per your reference to Talbots being vacant for 2+ years), that is probably not a sign of a “greedy” property owner but rather, in my opinion, probably a “foolish” property owner since what he/she wants to get per month likely is way above fair market value for the space in question. I say “foolish” because such property owners, being unrealistic as to the value of what they are trying to rent out, are just fooling themselves and they’ll never get back the rent they would have otherwise gotten had they rented out in the first place at then fair market value. I don’t know anything specifically about the Talbots space so there might be something else going on there but that’s how I’d think about it, not knowing any further facts about it. Secondly, sometimes the retail model just doesn’t work. If, after a reasonable amount of time, a business cannot succeed paying roughly fair market value rents, it might just be time to throw in the towel—not necessarily a reason to blame a “greedy” property owner/investor. Nor would I say we shouldn’t feel bad for the store owner tenant. It just is what it is and life goes on.
Westfield Parent January 16, 2014 at 03:12 PM
It was reported and there are also signs on the door at the former Talbot's that a bridal business will open there. I do agree that it is taking them a long time to get it going. Anyone else has any info to add?
Thomas Mann January 17, 2014 at 09:25 AM
A hardware store (Taylor Hardware), a five and dime (Woolworth's), a camera store(Camera One, Camera 3, Snapshots) anything other than another restaurant.
jwright44 January 17, 2014 at 11:32 AM
Store for Petites!!! OR Healthy Lunch Café!
Jim LaRegina January 17, 2014 at 01:20 PM
How about a record store?
Lynn January 18, 2014 at 04:23 PM
Lol Jim too bad it's 2014. I would like to see a yogurt store hahaha only kidding I think we may have one of those. Personally I think we need a Greek store/ restaurant I know we have many places to eat but have not had a Greek restaurant in the area for more then 30 years.
Proud South Sider February 03, 2014 at 11:55 PM
My two cents: family friendly pool hall, pinball machines, and 1970's video arcade.
Codyblue February 17, 2014 at 04:16 AM
Please........almost ANYTHING......but NOT another pizza/ red sauce dive. How many does this town REALLY need?


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