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Downtown Hit With Run Of Small Business Closures

Five businesses have closed or moved from the downtown core in as many months. Which existing businesses would you hate to see go?

Downtown Renton’s core is looking a little dark these days.

First, Mary Clymer closed this fall after five years of pushing through a tough economy and just barely staying afloat.

The store supported itself, Clymer said, but she herself wasn’t making any money to live on.

Clymer described her business as being “so rewarding in every way but financially,” during an interview with Patch before her September close. “It’s time for me to reassess my own personal goals."

A few months later, Beverly Franklin and David Olds, co-owners of Cedar Chest Antiques, hung poster boards in the windows announcing their intention to close at the end of the year.

“There just isn’t the traffic in town like there used to be,” Olds said, adding their decision to close was based on the poor economy.

Mid-November brought confirmation of Renton Laptop’s closure, although the business’ phone number was disconnected at least a month before a note appeared in the storefront’s window.

Also in the downtown vicinity, several businesses have opted to move out. Union Bank moved from South Third Street to The Landing this fall and Red Wing Shoes left Bronson Way for Southcenter Mall in October.

How can Renton work together to turn its economy around, and what businesses would you hate to see go under?

On that note, be sure to check out Rely On Renton’s screening of “Fixing the Future” on Wednesday, December 12 at 7 p.m. at the Renton Civic Theatre. Tickets cost $9 and there will be a free discussion event at Harambee after the screening.

Kristina S December 14, 2012 at 12:02 AM
I LOVE DTR! I have no brilliant marketing ideas, but is there any chance a weekly outdoor concert/music-type event could be done at the Piazza in August? Perhaps something similar to Jazz in July at The Landing? My kids and I really enjoy spending summer outdoors, and when we've attended the Jazz on July events, we dine at The Landing (or eat Shnoo) then shop. I have no idea of the financial impact, but I would think that more draws to the Renton Pavillion Ctr, particularly in crummy weather might help. Anything positive that draws foot traffic similar to the tree lighting would be a step in the right direction. Community garage sale at the Piazza during the summer to benefit local food banks & other charitable organizations?
Drew December 14, 2012 at 06:00 AM
The unpaved parking lot next to but not owned by the Berliner needs attention. Maybe the City needs a facebook page if not a local paper. Movie nights at the Piazza would be fun. Oktoberfest was great. More events at the Piazza would be great.
Alan Brittenham December 16, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Keep in mind the unintended consequences of decisions made in the past. When I was a teenager, the downtown Renton Loop was one of the most frequented hangouts in the area, both for the hot-rodders and their cars, the hangers-on, the people watchers and, above all, the girls. It was a regular scene. That all changed when the Police decided it was an enforcement problem, and began a program of harrassment and random traffic stops, as well as changing the parking lots and alleys to remove the ability to travel from one to the other off the street. This program successfully drove out the people who loved to hang out in downtown Renton. I bet you can trace the beginning of the failure of the downtown core to this time in the late '60s and early '70s. When you chase away all the potential and actual customers, why would you think they will all grow up and come back later? The Landing is just the nail in the coffin. Presumably, after the property values in downtown have dropped to their lowest, the land will be snapped up by large corporations with plans that do not include tattoo parlors and antique malls in their profitable futures. It's enough to make you think it's deliberate. :-{)}
Robert Sarzanini December 30, 2012 at 05:12 AM
I'm the owner of a company with offices on the fringes of DTR (Park Ave N) and we plan to move the offices out of Renton for a few reasons: 1. A bit tired of litterbugs and such on Park Ave and local streets. 2. Renton Police could care less about gang tags and such when reported. 3. Mayor Law helping introduce a 10 cent per gallon gas tax (when Washington Gas tax is already at 37.5 per gallon). 4. General rundown look and feel of DTR. 5. The City of Renton's really poor attitude toward small business. 6. Lack of resources for employees within walking distance of the offices.....we have to go to The Landing for a fast lunch. Ever try to have a quick bite at one of the places in DTR? The most important reason is that our female employees just don't feel safe after dark.....how sad is that?
Arts-n-Carafes - A Painting & Sipping Venue February 12, 2013 at 07:12 AM
Please city council, transportation board and public works department-act fast to change parking issues, traffic, confusing one way streets in DTR. 30% of the respondents in my email survey said parking is a major reason for not coming to DTR. $45 parking fines for trying to have lunch and shop or for my business to hold a 3-hour company team building event during the day is a huge hinderance. This will be the ONLY reason if I decide to relocate. ~Arts-n-Carafes/Bev Horn

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