Store for rent
Trotta's isn't the only empty storefront in the plaza. Clothes and Collectibles closed a few months ago and I see no indication that someone is coming in.
Sharon's shopping plaza is a very odd thing. From what I've been told, it wasn't always there - maybe 25 years old? I don't know what was there before, and I can understand the impulse to create a shopping center for town, but I don't think it's very successful. In other towns around here, there is a real downtown, with a main street of shops. Millerton, Kent, and even Salisbury all have downtowns where people come to walk around, get a coffee or lunch, and shop. Of course, a grocery store needs a big parking lot - Salisbury's is behind Main Street and visually hidden; Millerton's is on the edge of town in an area that looks more strip-mall suburban, leaving the village center looking and feeling more traditional and pedestrian-friendly. There is nothing friendly about Sharon's plaza - you take your life in your hands every time you try to get in or out of the crazy parking lot, especially near the post office on a Saturday morning.
Our shopping center is not a draw for anyone outside of town. As nice as Clothes and Collectibles was, I don't know how they stayed in business as long as they did - who came to the Sharon plaza to shop? There are one or two other stores in Sharon selling what I'd consider "optional" purchases like clothes, but they are scattered around.
Instead, Sharon's storefront economy is based on doctor's offices and what I'd consider "essentials" - car repair (at least 3 shops) and alcohol - we have 2 wine/spirits shops. They all seem to have very stable businesses! (Oh, and let's not forget Helen's gym - bustling every morning for a few hours, though it serves mostly just the local "elites"!)
Future posts in this series will be about our local restaurants, bright spots on the scene (Clean Bean!) and my curiosity about people who open retail shops - how exactly do they do it?!