It's no news that video stores are a dying breed. They have quickly joined record stores as a niche market collector sorta place. But isn't there still SOME room for the places even with the downloading and vending?
Nope. Not when the Olive Avenue Blockbuster, in the heart of the Tower District, is closing. Game over, man. Game over.
Moving on from that. Now there is going to be a prime PRIME Tower District spot open. That Blockbuster building is large enough for a club or a big restaurant or some kind of retail we're not thinking of.
Maybe a new music venue called "The Fresnan"? The most awesome local music venue ever. Where the stage is just the right size. The sound is perfect. The bathrooms are big and magically stay clean. The bands are not douchebags and the singers can actually sing. Fans buy merch and stand in front of the stage. The beer is never taped-out. It's all-ages and Chief Dyer is, like, totally cool with that. Yes. YES!
Wait. Maybe somebody can finally open up "Fresno's"!
It's taken a while, what with that whole Forest City jackassery and all. But as of today, local brewers Tioga Sequoia (746 Broadway) are in full brewing mode. From Tioga's Facebook page: "Six 30 Barrel fermenters to launch our first brew day tomorrow [today]. Let's brew some beer!!!"
Side note: Pretty awesome local alt-sports Tioga has picked to sponsor: NoTown Roller Girls and Fresno Rugby Club. You know, Tioga, the Fresno Wiffleball League starts up again soon, and they love to drink. sooo...
So Retro Rag is closed. We just noticed this on Saturday and thought it just happened but as we saw today on a post about another Tower business closing, it happened a couple weeks ago. Looks like the Ebay store is still open though.
Kinda surprised how quiet folks have been about its closure. Retro Rag was a Tower staple and one of the more interesting retail spots in the district. Oh well, no more retro-y displays for us then:
UPDATE 5/3: Not sure that this qualifies as a facade "improvement" (like what happened recently at the Kress Building on the Fulton Mall) but you can see the OG facade now at the Foodland/Las Palmas center. Can't say we remember an auto parts store being there:
ORIGINAL POST 4/28: One guess why there is heavy equipment and a cyclone fence at the southwest corner of Shields and West.
11:30am - 1:30pm A short little drive (hell, you could walk it) over to Austin's Downtown Sports Bar and Lounge (the old Hero's Sports Bar). There you can have the $10 all you can eat lunch buffet while you enjoy the sweet awesomeness of the Eva Scow Trio. Here's Eva being cute and shreding:
1:30pm to Dinner Time Go home and take a nice nap. Or go back to work (if you haven't been suspended yet). Or hell, go to the zoo, you can nap there too!
7:30 to 9:30?
Fresno podcasters/bloggers Ed and Adam will be hosting the trivia and more local bloggers will be participating. So this is awesome because it's your chance to make a blogger look stupid (like it's hard). And during your winning celebration you can look over to the blogger teams, make sure they catch your eye, gesture to your crotch and say "Blog THIS you stupid jerkass nerd dicks!"
9:30pm - 1:00am or so
Nice cap on your fun filled Fresno day. Malcom Sosa of Rademacher will be doing a solo set then SF indie band Odowas and Fresno indie-type-dudes-that-are-big-right-now: Wheels Of Fortune will be entertaining.
I bet there is some Fresnan that will do all of these things today (if we didn't have to work for The Man all day we totally would) and become a better Fresnan in the process. If ya do please let us know.
Next Wednesday at 10:00am, the folks at Fresh & Easy will be having a grand opening celebration at the downtown location, marking the opening of the grocery store chain's first ever Fresno store. More are following, including one at Shaw & West (pictured above).
There hasn't been a store at that intersection since the old Alpha Beta (NW corner) closed many years ago. Looking forward to seeing how it does, hopefully the Save Marts, a mile to the South and North, won't be hurt too bad.
January 13th is the day when Fresnans can shop in a real grocery store in Downtown's core for the first time in 25 years. That's one thing we learned from Friday's press conference at the new Fresh & Easy market in downtown Fresno (store mural pictured above).
But the most important info we learned from the press conference: They will have beer and wine and will be open 8am to 10pm. What else is there to know? Oh, food, there will be food too... and hybrid parking:
And now, if you're into this sorta thing we have a clip from Friday's press conference with the CEO of Fresh & Easy, after the jump:
Kathy Mahan's post did more than remind us that Bentley's Market closed (and her hair gets did in the same shopping center), it showed that the whole Riverview shopping center is in some trouble - even though it's in, maybe, the most affluent area of the Valley.
If a higher-end market can't work there, where in the Valley would it work?!
On a related note: One wonders if Fresno mega-developer DeWayne Zinkin should be celebrating that the development of his infamous 'Fresno 40' property is finally moving towards reality - being as it's down the street from the dying Riverview center.
While the slow deterioration of retail in Northeast Fresno does invoke a smirk from us, still, we know what's bad for one part of Fresno is bad for all of Fresno. Lets just hope Fresh & Easy does better in Downtown Fresno than Bentley's did in The NE.
UPDATE: You may have read the news in the Bee: Fresh & Easy is coming to Fresno for realsies this time. The downtown location (pictured above) is supposed to be the first one in Fresno to open, since it's already built and all.
We think it's the perfect one to open first because it's downtown. The first real grocery store to open in the Downtown Triangle, like, ever. Very much awesome.
But, it make us think (a rare event): Which market will the people living in the downtown lofts like Ironbird and Vagabond, shop? Will it be the new Fresh & Easy (located at Tulare and R), or the Tower Market (Olive and Van Ness)? They are both similar distances from the lofts even though the Tower Market is in a different area. Hummm.
ORIGINAL POST: Fresno's first grocery store within the Downtown triangle, Fresh & Easy, looks done on the outside (except for signage). But, it doesn't look like much is going on inside yet. Things seem to be on hold, in fact. Bako had their opening already, where is ours, ya bastards?
Looking forward to seeing how well this does Downtown.
You may have heard, Tim Sheenan of the Bee is reporting that Johnny Rockets in River Park is closing. Rockets management says River Park management is encouraging them to leave because Johnny Rockets attracts teens. Plus with the tough economy, Rockets is only breaking even - wasn't worth the fight anymore.
Oh boy, a major restaurant in River Park not making money. Yep, looks like the demise of another outdoor mall in Fresno has begun. But what happened to, um, River Park Mall? We can't blame it all on the economy. There must be other reasons.
That's why we have put together some totally original ideas that will save Fresno's beloved open air mall. They may sound familiar but, umm, like, totally came out of nowhere:
Better signage directing traffic to parking and where garages are.
Trim back the trees so we can see the storefronts - too much shade.
There are too many homeless people teens asking you for money to buy them tickets to a rated R movie, get rid of them.
Improve nightlife with more restaurants staying open late.
Too many fountains and too much artwork. Tear it all out, they don't make money.
Open up lofts above the storefronts. People can live above Wavelengths and Yoshinos, Edwards, Big Dog...
A river. Yes, build a river that would run through River Park.
Open the mall to traffic. Fresnans hate to park away from the place they're going too. If people could just drive right up to a Chocolate Factory or Dai Bai Dang or Jamba Juice, business would boom.
Start a committee to study and conduct some meetings about studying the mall and agree to meet about it.
We are convinced, once these ideas are implemented, they will surely solve Fulton Mall's River Park's problems.
[Disclosure: Tounge was half implanted in cheek during the writing of this post] [Picture was stolen from Carlos Guzman]
Ya duns fucked up now, Clovis. Yes voted a new Wal-Mart in your precious and pretty North Clovis area, did ya? Finally you've realized your dream of surpassing Pinedale in amount of Walmarts. Empty Clovis retail buildings in three, two, one...
Side note: Classic Walmart shot used because that's the look we imagine when Clovis and Walmart get together.
This is a current picture of the southeast corner of Ashlan and First:
Notice something? YEAH, THAT'S RIGHT, IT'S ALL FUCKING GONE!
That whole old sweet little shopping center. With the quaint liquor store and classic old dry cleaners and old Foodland (well, it's been gone a while, but still). It had all the old signage and wood shake roofs and big trees. The center just plain matched the feel of the old Fresno neighborhood around it, and now it's gone. Just like that.
Going up in it's place is a Wallgreens. Wow, um like, really worth clearing the whole center for that. By the way, are Rite Aids and Wallgreens going to be taking over all our corners now?
It's about as depressing as Fresno retail can get out there (unless you're a Gottschalks competitor) and Fresno was buzzing today with the news. I'll tell ya how much people were talking today about Gottschalks closing its doors: Ray Appleton actually did a full two hours of local programing, in Gottschalk's honor.
You know, there could be something really cool that could come of this. Yes, it's merely a dream at this point, but, it was said by a Gottschalks spokesman that this may not be the complete ending for Gottschalks.
What if they started from scratch? Went back to their roots and opened just one store, like good old Emil Gottschalk did. And, that one store was the original downtown store. What better place for a rebirth?
Adding to this little fantasy, what if the River Park store sat vacant and the re-birthed downtown store was thriving? Poetic justice. Ahh well, a Fresno kid can dream, can't he?
The Fresnan is a blog drunk on Fresno's sweet sweet booze.
We like posting about local music and random Fresno culture junk. We like Downtown, tri-tip, South of Shaw battles, tamales and remembering when there was a fig orchard at Herndon & Palm. We like to occasionally go to River Park but tell people we never go there.