Task force formed to address Grand Avenue business closings
The Summit-Hill Association has formed a task force to help move Grand Avenue forward after several businesses have closed recently.
The Grand Avenue Business Association (GABA) and St. Paul City Council members are also involved in this new effort to keep Grand Avenue’s commercial activity vibrant.
GABA President Chris Jensen told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS despite the recent closures of Salut, Anthropologie and Pottery Barn, there have been 11 new businesses that have moved into Grand Avenue locations in the past 12 months. But, GABA and the task force have reached out to places like 50th and France in Edina to share ideas on what’s working for those businesses.
“We’re always kind of evolving, right? Grand Avenue is always kind of changing,” said Jensen.
Jensen said most of the businesses that have closed are buildings owned by a union out of Ohio and GABA has talked with that group to see if they would be open to considering different options for the buildings they own.
“To divide up the spaces to make them smaller. We have multiple people who reach out to the Grand Avenue Business Association weekly that are looking for small spaces,” said Jensen. “We don’t have small spaces right now. We have huge, empty spaces.”
Sarah Stratte Quickel, owner of Enchante’ on Grand Avenue, told KSTP high rent for some of the businesses, including hers, is a big reason why store fronts are empty right now. She said she has an identical store in Stillwater that is much cheaper than her rent on Grand Avenue.
“It’s less than half. I pay twice as much on Grand Avenue, but I have 10 times more business in my Stillwater store,” said Stratte Quickel.
Stratte Quickel said, unfortunately, the higher rent and low foot traffic at her Grand Avenue store will likely cause her to close her doors for good in St. Paul.
“It’s not the same as it was in the 90s, unfortunately,” said Stratte Quickel. “In order to get back to that, I guess you’re going to have to lower the rent.”
After more than 30 years on Grand Avenue, the family-owned Tavern on Grand Restaurant announced last week they will be closing in June.