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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Do you support the village?

I was talking with a couple of store owners here in the Grove; stores, not restaurants. They were telling me that business is bad. They claim that locals don't shop in the Grove. Is that true?

Their argument, which makes sense, is that we're putting in all sorts of condos and multi-unit dwellings on one plat of land because people want to live in Coconut Grove, yet they don't spend any money here and support the village. They may eat at the restaurants, but when it comes to retail, they don't spend a dime. These store owners know because they ask people where they are from, and most are not from the Grove.

One owner told me that in South Miami, maybe 90% of the shoppers are from South Miami; but he says, not at Sunset Place, which is basically the same as CocoWalk. On the south side of Sunset Drive, many of those stores have been there for years and the store owners know their customers by name. It's not a tourist destination as maybe Sunset Place is, and the owners on Sunset Drive and south, rely on the neighbors to support them.

I was given some ideas on how to improve the Grove, but we have heard all this before. One store owner told me we need artists, art galleries, maybe even horses and carriages and clubs. Yes clubs. And he also said hand carts, which had always been a part of the village for years. We don't even have the rickshaw guys here anymore. Remember Spider-man? St. Petersburg, FL, has horses and carriages as well as NYC and New Orleans, and if the horse is treated with respect, why not here, too? When we have the mounted police riding around the Grove, it's a special thing. People love it.

Also, opening up the Coconut Grove Playhouse again was on the list, but that doesn't seem to be happening at this point. The playhouse did recently receive some sort of historical designation, but that and $5 will get you a cup of coffee at Panther.

I have to admit that on Gallery Walk night or even at the Village Council meeting the other night, it was the same people at each one. I like seeing people I know, but it would be so nice if new faces showed up for something. Just like a few years ago, when we had events in the Grove, each committee had the same people on all of them, many of us would walk from one meeting to the next, the same people, running all the committees. We would walk from a Bedrace meeting at the Bookstore to the Mayfair next door, to meet about July 4th, then maybe traipse over to the Glass House for a Merchants Meeting, and so on.

I find it interesting that so many people want to move and live here but they don't support the village. Why? Maybe a little charm and atmosphere will do the trick. As if Coconut Grove wasn't charming enough.


A big part of our past - Shaun/Spider-man.

For linking to this one story, just click on the time it was posted & just this story will open for sharing - only through social media. Not copying and pasting.


Blogger Brian Breslin said...

Let's take an objective look at the mix of stores we have in the neighborhood. In cocowalk you have a few touristy stores, a couple overpriced athletic shoe stores/crocs. A store that sells plastic cups. A few boutiques and jewelry stores. And the Gap.
Walk around the rest of the neighborhood (central grove), you have more ladies boutiques, a ton of salons, and that's it. (I'm excluding all the food options)

Aside from the couple of bike shops in the area, I can't think of anything I would want to buy around here. I used to spend a fair amount at the Grove Running Shop, but that went out of business.

So until the BID starts encouraging more variety of shops or landlords incentivize a diverse set of stores, I don't know I'd buy anything. That being said, I can't say I can identify any community that is being successful with retail these days.

September 21, 2016 9:35 AM  
Blogger María Cecilia Calderon said...

Hi! I moved three years ago to Coconut Grove and since then have tried to support as much local business as I can, but mainly only restaurants come to my mind.

I am raising a family and work from home but every time I need to buy something I think either Internet or outside the Grove. Most of the stores do not offer anything relevant to my lifestyle (Mom-on-the-run).

My humble opinion is that horses o characters are a great idea for tourist destinations but when you live in a place, you need more products and services adapted to your everyday life.

For example, next saturday my kids have a birthday party. I will love to buy the presents on the Grove but right now my mind is in blank!

What about the stores buid a local directory, adapt their products and do marketing efforts towards the neighborgs that surround them? Maybe home delivery? maybe discounts to 33133 residents?

September 21, 2016 9:50 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Everything they just said. The non-restaurant stores I frequent are the Bookstore, Walgreens or CVS, Home Depot, and the grocery stores. Housewares, clothing, furniture, pet food & supplies -- all unavailable in the Grove at reasonable prices. In the case of clothing - mostly expensive, vacation wear, or geared to the young. Which is fine, but it doesn't leave me anywhere to buy a simple pair of shorts or jeans.
And "we" are not building condo towers: developers are doing that. The same developers raising rent on local businesses so that they close or move away.

September 21, 2016 4:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

During American Express' promote small businesses week which was within the last year, I posted on a Grove social network site that reaches about 1,000, a list of places I shop at or use for services. There were quite a few like Lesley's boutique, Emma's alterations both on Bird by Flanagans, Robin in the Grove jewelry and watch repair store, the frame shop, the privately-owned UPS store (Postal Plus), the other UPS store on Grand, FedX on Grand, hair salon on Florida Ave., Bookstore, the manicure place next to CVS, the boutiques on Main Hwy. and Commodore Plaza, and more. Then I asked for other sugggestions thinking that I would hear about a bunch of them, guess what, not one person posted anything or even commented. Why? because they don't shop here! Even when someone asks for a recommendation of something people post places outside of the Grove. The future owners of those luxury condominiums are goind to get in the their cars and drive right out of the Grove; I don't see them walking downstairs and meandering on our streets but they should. It's a sad state of affaris.

September 21, 2016 4:13 PM  
Blogger Nadine Johnson said...

I have to agree with those who have already responded. I also try to shop in the Grove, but there isn't much I want. I always get my jewelry repaired at Robin's Jewelry and they do a great job for a fair price. I buy books and cards at the bookstore and that's about it. There used to be a great gift shop near the post office when I moved here in 1997 and I bought all of my gifts there, but that closed a long time ago. We need more stores that offer different merchandise.

September 21, 2016 4:15 PM  
Anonymous Ellen Foss said...

When I as a kid, Bert's Market had a storefront on Main Hwy. My mom used to shop there on the way home from Downtown shopping or picking me up from choir (Plymouth) or dance lessons. Inevitably, we shopped for other things. Is there a meat mkt/green grocer? Convenience and quality made up for expense.
Ellen Foss

September 21, 2016 4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In response to Unknown, Sept. 21 4:06 pm, there is a furniture store on Bird just west of 27th Ave. that has amazing décor of all kinds; Pet Supermarket on S. Dixie just west of SW 27 Ave., a simple pair of shorts or jeans can be found at the Gap for all ages with very reasonable prices. I get my housewares at Home Depot, Walgreens, CVS or Milam's.

September 21, 2016 4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to shop in the Grove and I do shop at Milam's, use Coconut Grove Pharmacy, buy as much as I can from Grove Bookstore and belong to a local (not chain) gym located in the Grove however when it comes to the nuts and bolts of life - clothing, housewares etc there just are not affordable shops relevant to my life. Can't lay all of this problem on the locals - the business owners share in the problem.

September 21, 2016 4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think shopping at the chains (CVS, Walgreens, HD) is what we're talking about here. Trying to support the "shop" owners is what is difficult for most of us ordinary types. There are a few that "work" but most are not relevant/affordable to the majority of working locals.

September 21, 2016 4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Unknown at 9:50am. You can buy all kinds of kids' gifts at the Bookstore.

September 21, 2016 5:08 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

And I didn't intend to be "unknown," - just forgot to sign!
LL Rampet6

September 21, 2016 6:01 PM  
Blogger Lorax said...

My husband and I love poking around the This and That store on Commodore. We almost always find some wonderful, lightly used clothing, housewares or books. The women who run it for the church charity are very nice. You get to enjoy the thrill of the hunt and reasonable prices, and pat yourself on the back for supporting a worthy cause and participating in ultimate recycling!
Don't forget Maya Hatcha for gifts. So sad that Silverado and Olefactory went out because of increased rates and uncertain lease fees. I hope the bike store can make it. He's a super nice guy. Support him! Super nice folks at Darma and oxxo cleaners, and they and Mayfair support free yoga!

September 21, 2016 7:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We lost a gem when The Sale Rack was forced to close! Wish Allison would bring back that fabulous shop ~ it's REALLY missed.

Really wish that Books & Books had come to the Grove...we need a REAL bookstore...there's something missing at the one we got instead.

I agree that Art Galleries have been cast aside for businesses paying higher rents...but that ugly shoe store? Come on!

Miss Olfactory and Silverado. Is Design Box still around? they've been moved here, there, and yon.

Spider Man and Friends are sorely missed, but I don't think horses could take the stress of Miami Drivers' impatience...they can't even be bothered to stop for PEOPLE in the crosswalk as STATE LAW demands...they're suddenly going to be kind because Horses are marching along Grand and Main? Really? Nice idea but I have no faith in them.

September 22, 2016 9:47 AM  
Blogger sally willits said...

I would love to see a small meat market/ deli where you can pick up cold cuts or homemade soups. Fresh market is good but a hassle.

September 22, 2016 12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a long time resident who lives-in, works-from and is active in the community, I urge all Grove retailers to consider joining the Coconut Grove Chamber of Commerce.

While all the hotels, the majority of restaurants, and service-provider businesses and professionals make up a large portion of the membership, for some reason, retailers seem to be resistant to joining the Chamber. Yet, consider that those retailers who are Chamber members are all recognized as successful, established, go-to businesses in the Grove: Shell Lumber, H&H Jewelers, Coconut Grove Gallery & Interiors, FrameWorks, This ’n That Shop— these are examples of establishments that are easily recognized and frequented by residents of Coconut Grove. They also are involved in the Chamber and the community.

According to a study conducted in 2012 by The Schapiro Group, an Atlanta-based strategic consulting firm commissioned by the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), in cooperation with the Western Association of Chamber Executives, being active in a local chamber of commerce is an effective business strategy, and particularly, it has a major impact on small businesses.

It shows that two-thirds (2/3) of consumers believe that such companies use good business practices, are reputable, care about their customers and are involved in the community.  If a company shows that it is highly involved in its local chamber, consumers are 10% more likely to think that its products or services stack up better against its competition.

Small businesses represent the largest segment of most local chamber membership rolls, and the study indicates that chamber membership has consistent and powerful benefits to small business members.  If respondents know that a small business is a member of a local chamber of commerce, the business enjoys:
• 49% increase in its consumer favorability rating
• 73% increase in consumer awareness
• 68% increase in its local reputation
• an 80% increase in the likelihood that consumers will patronize the business in the future

So give it a try. Check our our website to submit your application and logo,, or call the office Monday - Thursday, and speak to Howard, Teresa or Ana, 305-444-7270. Come to our Women’s Happy Hour on the last Monday of the month at the Mayfair and tell us about your business! — Liliana Dones, President, Coconut Grove Chamber of Commerce

September 24, 2016 11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Owned my home in the Grove since 1998.
I spend seriously big bucks in the Grove. Stores I shop at regularly: Milams and Fresh Market (but go to Pulix more often because you save so much $$$), Home Depot, Big Daddy's Liquor, Happy Wines (great prices), CG Laundry & Cleaners (dry cleaning), CVS, Coco Cigar, Pet supermarket or whatever its called off US1, Shell Lumber, Shell Gas station, Marathon gas station (27th and Bird), Fly Buy convenience store, Crook & Crook for bait and gear. UPS store for shipping and printing.
See the trend here? Its daily life shopping.
The Village is full of stuff that you hardly ever buy. Maya Hatcha? Can't remember the last time I went in there. Frameworks? Not framing a lot of art these days. Lucky 14? How many bongs and one-hitters do you need? Even the bike shops - sometimes you need a tube or a tire but it is a rare event. I've shopped occasionally at the GAP for kids clothes. I've bought a few expensive pieces of jewelry at H& H but over the past 18 years but again it is a rare occasion. Condom USA? 50 years old and married. Kit and Ace? Who has $300 for a freaking shirt??? Even Maui Nix is crazy overpriced. As others have correctly pointed out, the rest of the retail is salons and gelato/frozen yogurt. The market will balance out what the needs of the community are, and it ain't overpriced tourist boutiques.
Right now I'm excited about all of the new restaurants. Wish the clubs would come back too and live music. But all in all, it's a pretty kick-ass place to live. Our best days are ahead of us in CG.

September 28, 2016 6:31 PM  

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