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Shops Closing a Normal Part of Doing Business

Three eateries in downtown Kent closed this month

This week we learned three of Kent's newer eateries that opened as part of downtown's redevelopment were forced to close their doors.

The Dog Squad and Arctic Squirrel, a gourmet hot dog shop and ice cream parlor, closed their doors one week ago today. Soup joint Funky Ladles also shut down.

They're certainly not the first.

And they won't be the last.

Do you remember Vintage Rehab? The store sold gently used clothing and was one of the first tenants in the first phase of the Acorn Alley redevelopment. The store closed in 2010 after being open slightly more than a year.

The silver lining there is that Off the Wagon expanded by taking over the former clothier space.

Did you ever peruse the fabrics at Katie Brooke Quilt Shop? The sewing and knitting shop, another early tenant of Acorn Alley, closed in 2011 after being open less than two years.

Remember the Main Street Snack Shoppe? That short-lived, student-run business closed in Acorn Alley after a brief stint selling candy and munchies.

Did you ever sit in Dancing Beta and enjoy their sushi? That restaurant closed after slightly more than a year in business in Acorn Alley.

The redevelopment area isn't the only place where businesses are being shuttered.

Practically a landmark, Spin-More Records shut down, after spinning albums for 30 years in the Kent Stage building, to make way for a business that could pay higher rent: Jimmy John's.

Professor's Pub gave way to Stone Tavern. The Backerei folded into Baked in the Village Café. Ramella's Pizzeria is at least the fourth incarnation of a pizza joint in the building on Erie Street.

Who remembers Thompson's Drug?

For almost every business that fails there is a success story.

Laziza remains a popular place for a dinner date. And the restaurant's owners plan to take over the Funky Ladles space and turn it into more of a café.

Popped! is selling so much popcorn that they've expanded into second-floor space in Acorn Alley.

Pita Pit remains a favorite for a quick lunch or dinner among students and townies alike. Finding a table at Tree City Coffee some days is more of a challenge than finding a Republican in Kent.

Did I mention Off the Wagon?

And even newer places, like Bar 145 and Yogurt Vi, appear to be drawing a lot of foot traffic.

Don't forget about the stalwarts — the places that have endured much longer and gave downtown Kent it's charm: McKay Bricker Gallery, City Bank Antiques, Sue Nelson Designs and Franklin Square Deli.

Are we going to see more businesses close? Perhaps. Is the sky falling? Not yet.

I won't be overly concerned about businesses, many of which have been start-ups, failing as part of downtown's redevelopment until after the parking garage opens, the Kent State hotel is bedding guests, the old Kent hotel opens and the new 32-unit apartment building across from Acorn Alley becomes a home to 32 families.

Until then, keep calm and support your local businesses.

Mallory March 24, 2013 at 12:04 AM
Wow. This is a very sad attitude. I wish all of the new and old business owners luck. It is very brave to start a local business, especially in an uncertain economy. Thank you small business owners for having the guts to bring your ideas to Kent. I frequent most of the local establishments, new and old, and they each help provide Kent with a unique atmosphere. You should be proud of your town for taking an interest in making Kent a better place to live.
Pepper March 24, 2013 at 05:44 PM
If you want to mention Thompson Drug you have to mention Carson's Corner.
Frederick John Kluth March 25, 2013 at 03:07 PM
Kent could focus more on tourists and persons at some distance. Kent has many attractions to offer and many others could be easily developed. Kent culture could be developed a bit to support this.
Holly Monte March 26, 2013 at 08:23 PM
Going to Acorn Alley is an exercise in absolute frustration. Parking situation is horrible, I KNOW the garage is coming! Little comfort when you just want to get a bowl of soup to go. Adjacent empty parking lot is permit only. Just about ruined my car going off the drop-off at the end of the street. Contractors should be going out of their way to make situation easier for businesses to help them weather the disruption or the whole thing will be vacant by the time it's finished.
Lorin March 28, 2013 at 12:57 PM
I really, REALLY think they need a drug/convenience type place downtown that opens 24 hours. It might not be glamorous but I really think it would do well...when people are out drinking at the bars what kind of things do they want? Cigarettes, munchies for the walk home, bottled water. There is nothing like that really close to the bars so I think that would be a good idea. (And no, I am not a college student...a normal resident)

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