Retail Curiosities


Mike Dwyer

Mike Dwyer is a former writer and contributor at Ordinary Times.

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33 Responses

  1. Avatar Jesse Ewiak says:

    Froyo started happening here about five or so years in Seattle, so well, this is just the rest of the country catching up to the coasts. I actually think they could be decently profitable. Yogurt isn’t too expensive, you’re charging by the ounce, and you’re hiring college or high school kids.Report

    • Avatar Morat20 says:

      Plus they all have those assembly line station things, which means fewer hands needed to make it and quicker service.

      Add in people’s belief “it’s yogurt, it’s got to be healthy” and Bob’s your uncle.

      Can’t speak to the tires. I did read a disturbing article somewhere (maybe here?) about the rise of “lease-to-own” tire sales.Report

    • Avatar Michelle says:

      Lots of frozen yogurt places around the North Carolina Triad area. And yoga studios. Yoga has overtaken Greensboro with a vengeance.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Weed. Weed, weed, weed, and weed.

    Ironically, about half of them have closed but *STILL* there are tons of them as you drive around. I drive past five or six on my way to work and, if I want to go into Old Colorado City/Manitou, I drive past a dozen.

    I keep thinking I should do an interview with one of them…Report

  3. Avatar NewDealer says:

    Frozen Yogurt places have been pretty big in New York and San Francisco for a few years now.

    I’ve seen this thing happen in SF as well. Certain kinds of businesses like tire stores and car dealerships congregate together in certain areas. I imagine in a city like SF, there is a space issue involved. Here a lot of the mechanic places and tire stores are in the old Industral part of town or a certain section of a big artery called Geary Blvd.

    I don’t know anything about Lousiville geography though. It seems that in many places, identical or similar businesses just flock together.

    The nail thing makes more sense. I imagine that every shopping center has one or two because of convenience sake. A person can stop by and get their nails done while doing other chores instead of needing to go somewhere else, etc.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      Could it be a zoning thing? If the tire stores are doing the replacement work, it means they’re going to need to do tire disposal. That might only be allowed in certain parts of town and/or the facility they use for disposal may be nearby and thus it is wise to build your store in close proximity.

      Tire stores strike me as something that need not be conveniently located. If I need I tire, I’m going to go where ever I have to to get it.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

        I don’t think it’s zoning – our theory is that maybe they actually DO want it close to people because if you have a flat you really need a place close by.Report

  4. Avatar dhex says:

    froyo is ramping up in the city again for whatever reason. maybe it’s a lower cost version of the back to basics burger joint thing, which seems to have slowed down.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer says:

      When did the stop ramping in the first place?

      I admit to being shocked a bit to see FroYo in Williamsburg when I was there in March/AprilReport

      • Avatar dhex says:

        i’m sure it’s artisanal, free-range froyo though.

        the whole red mango and related froyo outlets had gotten hot in the first half of the 2000s and then walked back a bit. this past year though i’m starting to see a lot more pop up.Report

        • Avatar NewDealer says:

          It is the 16 Handles franchise.

          Williamsburg also recently got a mainstream movie theatre. This must be the first movie theatre built in Brooklyn in how long…..Report

          • Avatar dhex says:

            i think that UA in sheepshead bay was renovated fairly recently, but yeah. i see a movie every three years or so but we usually stuck to cobble hill cinema. very low on the audience participation index.Report

            • Avatar NewDealer says:

              I thought you lived in Queens.

              That’s my old neighborhood. I love their cheesy 80s graphics intro to the movies. Plus they were pretty cheap while showing decent movies. The UA up court street was also okay.

              Oh Cobble Hill and Carrol Gardens how I miss them. All my friends are a flutter about PacificGreen being evicted for a J.Crew.Report

              • Avatar Dhex says:

                I live in Queens now , but lived in Carroll gardens for about five years. And Williamsburg five years before that, and Richmond Hill for a few years before that.

                Pacific green was a decent joint but Hella expensive. But that’s true of pretty much everything in that area, which is why all of my friends who grew up there have wealthy parents and grandparents living in Florida.

                But we had a real good deal which is why my other half was able to go traipsing around in librul artes land.

                At least sam’s is still open. And vinny’s aka the most delicious red sauce joint in the tri state area.Report

              • Avatar NewDealer says:

                Vinny’s! I love that place just because it felt like an old-school hanger on. I have a fascination with those.

                I think Carroll Gardens will be my favorite neighborhood.Report

              • Avatar dhex says:

                vinny’s is the bangingest – the eggplant and the chicken in particular. we’re going to hit it up one more time before we head out into ‘murica because we just gotta.Report

              • Avatar NewDealer says:

                Leaving NY? Part of me is still trying to move back.Report

              • Avatar dhex says:

                librul artes, son. librul artes tearin’ me apart.Report

    • I thought it was all about tapas?Report

  5. Avatar Shazbot5 says:

    “If not yogurt and tire, what types of businesses seem to be taking over your neck of the woods?”

    The yogurt and tire place near me, “Steel Belted Strawnana’s” went belly up a while ago. The yogurt was pretty disgusting. (Hint: soot is not a topping guys.) But they did a great job patching a nail hole in one of my tires with some gum-drop toppings.Report

  6. Avatar greginak says:

    I’m sort of irritated the summer burst of construction isn’t bringing any new stores to anchorage. All we’re getting is another walmart and target. No different restaurants or even a Chipotle.Report

  7. Avatar Peter says:

    Frozen-yogurt stores are the biggest clip joints this side of hostess bars. Everything is sold by weight. The cups are always large, and the tendency of customers to fill their cups – exacerbated by the big variety of flavors to mix ‘n’ match – means that most end up taking more yogurt than they would have expected. Add all the tempting toppings, and people are in for a nasty surprise when the cashier weighs the finished product. Note that there are no scales for customer use, so people can monitor how much they’re taking.Report

  8. Avatar zic says:

    You don’t say if these are franchises, independent shops, or mega-corp stores.

    Franchises and megacorp stores do seem to have a tendency to cluster; and I’d argue it’s one of the benefits of competition. A cluster creates a large enough pull to draw customers from a wider area; knowing if they can’t find what they need at one place, there’s another a half-mile down the road. (I don’t think this applies to frozen yogurt, however.) While there’s competition for any individual customer, the larger number of overall customers makes it worth the bother; and the competition for individual customers tends to create price competition that benefits customers.

    For tires, I’d also wonder if there’s some sort of regulatory change here; more stringent inspection standards? Personally, that’s fine by me; this is the only place where a vehicle weighing thousands of pounds makes contact with the road as it travels at speeds of 50mph or more. Good tires matter.

    When it comes to frozen yogurt; it’s just the presumption of a healthier junk food; ice cream that supposedly better for you. It may be. But then again, it may not.Report

  9. Avatar Damon says:

    I used to live in an Exurb and when (I was married) we moved out there, there were only a few restaurants-An Arbys, a bad Japanese steak house, some Irish pub or American bar/grill and a kebob shop.

    We ate at the kebob shop all the time, it was the only decent place. After surveying our neighbors at a party, we were given lots of places to go that were good “for kids”. Having none, we steered clear of them, except the Japanese steak house, which was a major disappointment as the kids were running around between the tables making a huge racket.

    Finally, finally, a good sushi shop opened up and a Panera Bread. Life became civilized then. Shame I had to leave it.Report

  10. Avatar Pincher says:

    Here in Florida we are seeing lots of tire stores too. Also burrito chains akin to Chipotle, Moe’s, etc. and vitamin/nutrition stores. I don’t see how all those vitamin stores can stay in business (mostly they don’t I guess.) Cell phone stores have long been a blight on our community. Even bank branches seem way in excess of what is required. Who goes into all those branches and for what?Report

  11. Avatar Eric Mesa says:

    We have a little of everything everyone has already mentioned – tons of Froyo places, lots of medium food burger joints, etc. But the one I can’t fathom is the drug store there seems to be a drug store on every other corner. Surely there isn’t that much need for expensive crap and places to fill your prescriptions. especially since Wal Mart, Target, Costco, and a couple of places already fill prescriptions.Report