Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Rome Wasn't Built in a Day....

"Little Francis' teacher called home last week to talk to Francis's Mom & Dad about the progressive slide in little Francis' grades.  

"Darling Francis!" exclaimed his mother, "he can do no wrong!"  "Do something, Father!"

Mother and Father thought hard for nearly a minute before they confidently placed the blame where it truly belonged;  on anyone but Francis."  

Anyone with any longevity in Downtown St. Louis understands four consistent truth's with the St. Louis fear mongering media:   
1.  "Downtown is Failing" is an acceptable answer to any problem.   
2.  No other community faces the same level of scrutiny.  
3.  Responsibility rarely falls where it should.
4.  Use the truth as a last resort.

Seeing the news last night how Harry's was closing was obviously a disappointment.    When it opened, I remembered it was considered one of the top pick up bar's in the area for folks slightly older than me (now around 48-50 years old).  It was a classy place with good food.   Maybe Harry cited all the reasons for closing, and they news channel just cut everything out except his "Downtown is struggling" cliché.   When Harry's opened 23 years ago, Washington Avenue was a dive.   Old warehouses, rave parties and the 3am club scene for the young people, the slightly older, 'yuppies' went to Harry's.  

Now the world has changed.   
We can only hope that the 48-50 year olds have found their first and maybe 2nd or 3rd spouse by now.  The internet has changed how society communicates and online dating / social media has largely taken the primary reason that many people went to the bars back in the 80's and 90's.  My pals in bands tell me all the time, how we live in the different world, which is good, because I'm not in the bars to see for myself.  Harry's was becoming obsolete.  

This really shouldn't be anything earth shattering.  This has happened ever since restaurants really came into being.  A concept gets tired, stops performing, maybe some management or staffing problems take place, or some other outside factor like traffic changes or massive competition.   Sometimes, like young Francis, the place just isn't that good, or the business plan was to blame.  One of my other favorite restaurants on Watson rd, Stellina's recently shuttered.   Rather than blame Lindenwood Park, I would say that there were too few tables and not enough privacy.  I saw it coming, but enjoyed the business while it lasted.  

Like all of downtown, blame Ballpark Village.   That's fair.    Ballpark Village is a fresh concept by players with good strategy, good design, great location and deep pockets.   A tough competitor.   So tough, in fact, that they're blaming it for a closure in KIRKWOOD.  

With J. Bucks, it closed in Downtown.   It also closed in West County (2009) and in Clayton.  The sky is falling strategy used like a club against downtown didn't happen there, and the journalists in St. Louis really have to get real.  

THE BOTTOM LINE is that Downtown will always have challenges, but that growth and development are still going on and things will take time, but the direction Downtown is heading will continue to amaze.