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HomeNews (pre-July, 2011)Larchmont's Palmer Ave. to Lose Another Business

Larchmont's Palmer Ave. to Lose Another Business

And then there were eight. The Luggage Stop, at 1923 Palmer Avenue for sixteen years, will close its doors this summer.











Owner Toby Roth tells theLoop her lease was coming up and the decision was her own.

"We’ve been losing money for the last two years," Roth said. "People are shopping on the internet. That’s the killer." Roth and her son Marc, who run the small luggage and bag store together, have been a fixture on the Avenue since 1994.

With the closing of The Luggage Stop, there could potentially be eight empty storefronts on the one-block stretch of Palmer Avenue between Chatsworth and Larchmont Avenues. Currently six stores are empty; Michou will soon close to focus on on-line sales. Roth says there is no business that she knows of interested in her space.

With a big sign posted in her window today, many well-wishers stopped in to say goodbye, though Roth says she will stay open another two months.



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June 18, 2010 4:04 PM

Wow, if it’s really one guy owning all these empty storefronts, and he just lives in the city, why can’t the Chamber of Commerce (do we even have one?!) and the Town put some pressure on him?! Somebody print his damned name and we’ll get the Journal, maybe even the Times to write this up. Let’s put some public pressure on him. To my mind letting your property lie idle like this is irresponsible. It’s detrimental to the well being of the community he bought into when he purchased the buildings, and should warrant some kind of civil penalty. Ideally, there should be a contingent written into any new law that storefronts can’t remain idle beyond a certain date – that would fix the abominable and embarrassing Tung Hoy situation as well. Aren’t we paying all these Town administrators a decent enough salary that they can turn some of their energies toward drafting changes to these silly zoning laws as outlined here by Michele? Maybe Editrix can get some on-the-record responses to all of our comments here from the folks “in charge”. And not just whiny, throw-up-their-hands-and-feel-our-pain responses, but a real plan of action. Come on, people, we can’t just wait this out.

Big D
Big D
June 17, 2010 11:51 PM

It’s good to know that the threads here can be as good as playing “phone” on FB. JBO, in answering Conrad Andriani, I don’t know where you get this perception that Larchmont in the 80s was a seed store capital. There have always been good restaurants and small upscale stores in Larchmont. I don’t know your age but you seem out of touch. Then you imply that the wall street workers kept us afloat. Well, maybe, because it takes a good chunk of change to live comfortably in this town and I don’t know the demographics of who the floaters are. I do know this, after living here for fifty years, this is still a good town but has drawn a certain mentality that it disjointed from this town’s history, don’t give a damn, and hopefully will come to appreciate where they are or move on.

landlords are idiots
landlords are idiots
June 17, 2010 4:21 PM

I know the main culprit who owns many of these empty storefronts. He just doesn’t get it, and I can’t believe he can keep up his luxurious lifestyle for long…oh yeah, he also lives in the city!

June 15, 2010 2:34 PM

Why is Rye’s Purchase Street bouncing back?

June 13, 2010 3:25 PM

Hey Conrad Andriani! Take a sec to reflect on what this town, whose residents include a preponderance of Wall Street folk or those connected to Wall Street, would look like if there hadn’t been a bailout. Can you see the tumbleweeds? It probably would look like it did in the ’80s, when the biggest store in town was The Seed Store.

Michele Stevens
Michele Stevens
June 12, 2010 9:44 AM

First, I think it’s refreshing that so many of you care about Larchmont. It does “take a village.” That’s why there’s a Mamaroneck Schools Foundation, a Fields for Kids, a Larchmont Library fund-raising committee. All of these groups have been very successful in bringing together the community to make improvements where needed on a grassroots level in a timely fashion.

Anybody out there interested in forming a Save Palmer Avenue committee?

I too have been saddened by the closed storefronts on Palmer Avenue and the depressing tone that it has created in our once vibrant community. In April I had a meeting with our new mayor, Josh Mandell. I asked the same questions all of you did here about why Mamaroneck is thriving while Larchmont is not. The problem is threefold:

Zoning – Larchmont is zoned in such a way that retail space must remain retail space and only currently designated restaurant space can become a restaurant. If you want to change the zoning, you have to change it at a state level. This means that we all have to get together as a community and vote on whether this is something that Larchmont wants.

Tax Laws – Landlords pay lower taxes if their space remains un-rented when there is no rent revenue being generated. This removes the incentive for landlords to rent their space quickly and enables them to hold out for the highest renter. This again is a law that should be changed but has to be reformed at the state level with an initial bill at the local level.

Money – As many of you are aware, the Village has initiated the Palmer Streetscapes Project which is currently in the planning stages and should be started as of next year sometime. This is a beautification project which includes building new sidewalks and curbing, as well as putting in more attractive lighting to clean up Palmer Avenue and make it more appealing to prospective renters and shoppers. The guesstimated cost of this project is $1.2 million. About $600,000 of the monies for this project have been obtained through a Department of Transportation grant due to our proximity to Metro North. The remainder of the money for this project will be in the way of a future bond. This will mean raising taxes, a never popular course of action in an already overtaxed community. To bury the ugly power lines underground as they have done in Mamaroneck would cost the Village an estimated $3 million and a bigger bond.

June 11, 2010 3:33 PM

we make a real effort to support local retailers. that said, we’d bet easier to sail thru a sluggish economy — and to thrive in a good one — with customer-friendly return policies, welcoming sales staff, a kid-friendlly vibe where children are supposedly welcome and a keen eye and ear for the new and noteworthy.

June 11, 2010 12:05 PM

Yes, the rents are high. Yes, parking is a problem. Yes, our sidewalk renovation could finally be realized. These are pre-existing conditions and they have been debated in Chamber of Commerce and town meetings for decades.

These are not the reason that out town is looking so desolate. Our town was vibrant when the economy was strong.

Two years ago there wasn’t a parking space on Palmer Ave. It was amusing to watch a Mom balance her latte while talking on her phone and parallel parking in order to hustle her kids from store to store to pick up sneakers and new baseball cleats. It happened every hour. Now there is an abundence of parking on Palmer Avenue on any given week day.

This anecdote illustrates the “old Larchmont” ; I have a client who used to come to Larchmont from Armonk (where there is no charming walking village). She came to Larchmont every three weeks or so to get her boys’ skates sharpened. She used the time while she waited to buy lunch, clothes, baby gifts, and art. She liked the shops so well she brought her friends on Saturdays. She no longer has an excuse to come to Larchmont. There are fewer and fewer reasons for a shopper to make our town a destination. And the remaining businesses feel the impact.

There is economic anxiety at every level.The banks are not lending money to start ups, they are calling loans and revoking lines of credit. Land lords do not want to take a chance on an unproven business. Understandably, they don’t want to assume any risk. Small bussiness are challanged when they have to buy inventory and stay relevant.

It is a bit of a waiting game. When consumer confidence rebounds people wil spend money. Unfortunately, there may be nothing left of our charming little town. Businesses cannot accrue debt year after year. Ask any local merchant, business is down between 30% and 50% from 2007.

And to exacerbate things, summer is around the corner. July and August are perennially sluggish times for business in town. People are vacationing and the shop owners and restaurants always struggle to pay their rent during the summer months.

We all need to take a roll is revitalizing Larchmont. Shop local whenever you can. Splurge a little once in a while. Many merchants are having special promotions and events, support them. Recruit entrepreneurs to have a look at Larchmont. We need fresh new faces. There are creative opportunities in adversity.

The problems are multi dimensional and the solutions are as well. To trot out a well worn phrase, “it takes a village”.

Catherine W
Catherine W
June 11, 2010 10:27 AM

This is about landlords not accepting that the recession is here and no one can pay the ridiculous rates. It’s also about buying local.

I WALKED to town, bought pasta at Villarina, tailoring at Dagostino, bought tools at Foley’s, looked at paint chips at Village Paint and bought a blouse at Designer 1. If you think it costs too much, you are not thinking about what it will cost us in empty storefronts if you are not militant about shopping in town.

This is happening in Rye, the Hamptons, everywhere rents were previously so high. Perhaps the Village can pass a law that makes landlords allow empty window space to be used by existing stores so at least the street is inviting to new business.

Mamk Village and Larchmont Ave have traditionally lower rents, and they are thriving.


June 10, 2010 9:17 PM

[quote][i]Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.[/i]
-George Bernard Shaw[/quote]

First we need to change our attitudes. Then we must make major changes in our infrastructure. Our streets and municipalities were developed in a different era. We have space, we have brains and the test will be whether we use them wisely. A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.

• C O M M U N I T Y • C A L E N D A R •

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