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June 17, 2009 - 11:53am

Walgreens fence is barrier to business growth in Le Roy

posted by Howard B. Owens in business, Le Roy.

walgreens_leroy.jpg

I took this picture last week, but I have the same thought every time I reach the intersection of Main St. and Lake St. in Le Roy: What good is Walgreens going to do for Le Roy? What where village planners thinking when they agreed to see two buildings that fit the village torn down and replaced by one that intentionally doesn't fit?

The Walgreens will do nothing to help the existing businesses in the village or help fill up the 10 or so vacant store fronts there.

The parking lot in front of the building is designed to make Walgreens a drive in, buy, and leave location.  The black metal fence further imprisons Walgreens customers, sending a clear message: Don't park here and walk to the village.

A new company coming into an existing business district couldn't send a more hostile message to the local community than this parking lot and fence.

Peter O'Brien
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Was there a drug store in town before hand? If not, they are not a hindrance
Gabor Deutsch
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I think the fence is to keep the "riff-raff" out ! lol.
Janine Cain
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Don't get me started on this situation. Here in LeRoy we have Rite Aid, Tops Pharmacy, and Medicine Shoppe already. I am not against Walgreens per se, but to tear down two pre Civil War buildings to put up this monstrosity, then do no improvements to the already problematic intersection is what distresses me. There are plenty of spots in the Town and Village that Walgreens could have erected this store without tearing anything down. By the time most of us heard about Walgreens coming, the properties were already sold and it was a done deal. There was a noble attempt by some to preserve the buildings, but the majority of folks couldn't appreciate their historic value. Look what we have to look at instead. A cookie cutter store made to look "old" fashioned. How ironic. At least they could have improved the intersection with new curbs or lane widening. Every time I drive by I try to figure out how one is supposed to get in OR out of there in one piece. At first I thought the fence might be for construction only, but it looks like it is here to stay.
Howard B. Owens
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Peter, as Amy points out -- there are already some chains in town, so that's why I didn't take a "shop local" angle with this post. There are no, as far as I know, locally owned drug stores in Le Roy. So to me, the only issue is: be a good business citizen, which Walgreens is not doing, in my mind. As far as I know, there are only two family owned drug stores in the county -- Alberty's on Main in Batavia and the one in Oakfield.
Peter O'Brien
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I'm not familiar with Leroy so I wasn't sure. I often wonder how so many drug stores can stay in business. There are many corners in monroe county that have more than one. And they are usually right down the road from a walmart or tops or wegmans. Its mind boggling. I guess most people just listen to their doctors and take their subscriptions. I don't because the only ill affect if I don't is feeling awful for 20 minutes or so.
Andrew Erbell
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Did the majority of folks want to deal with the lead and asbestos abatement issues in the Mason Hall? Were they inclined to pay the expenses associated with possible soil contamination from the old garage? Years ago I walked through the old NAPA Store when looking for space as our business expanded. As interesting as the potential for star gazing from inside the building seemed at the time, I thought should it rain, there might be problems with our office equipment. As far as what the elected village officials were thinking, tax revenues and some jobs come to mind. After all, how many antiques and curio shoppes can one town support?
Howard B. Owens
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Andrew, a town can support many, many more antiques and curio shoppes. Those are lines of business that reinforce each other -- the more there are, the more successful each one becomes, because more people who are interested in such shops drive further distances to shop in such destination spots. Le Roy village has tremendous potential as a place of second-hand and gift shops and books shops and restaurants and coffee shops. The Walgreens does nothing to the help that. I'm not too distressed about the buildings being torn down, except maybe the Masonic Lodge (would have been nice to save). As for tax revenue -- won't help Le Roy much, because all sales tax in Genesee County goes into one pool and is redistributed. As for job growth -- more small merchants would do more for job growth than one more borg-like chain.
Andrew Erbell
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It was a rhetorical question. The small town I grew up in is nothing but. I'm also aware of how sales tax works, as it is amongst the ever- growing percentage of taxes my business pays.
David Dodge
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I lived in Le Roy for 18 years, I now reside in Batavia. The only business I know of that might be locally owned and is a drug store is called The Medicine Shop. But, I don't think that is locally owned either. Does anyone know when Walgreens is actually supposed to open? Or, has it already.
Howard B. Owens
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The Medicine Shop is a chain.
bud prevost
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While I too question the need for another drug store/convenience store in the village, I am actually glad to see the finished product. That corner has been an eyesore for 20+ years, and the buildings had all seen much better days. I'm surprised it hasn't opened yet. You would think the developer would want to start collecting rent.
Andrew Erbell
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Howard - LeRoy had many of the stores you mentioned in your post within the last five years or so. Most lasted less than two years. There was a bookstore up at the Route 19 end of Main Street. They lasted a couple of years. The comics books store next to it occupied that space for about a year. There was a seamstress in the storefront with the red, white, and blue paint. Tyler's Restaurant was a mainstay for a long time. Javas on Main is the third or fourth version of a coffee shop in that storefront. Perhaps the current owners can make a better go of it than all the predecessors. What many business enterprenuers fail to realize is that just because you think you have a great idea, unless your potential customer base agrees with you, it's nothing more than an expensive life lesson learned. Very few are success stories like David Mancuso's Business for example.
Donna Jackett
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Can I just butt in for a minute!! You guys stop going back and forth and look at what an inprovement this has made to that corner. Look across the street at the Wiss Hotel, pretty bad huh. Give me a break and stop all the back and forth crap.
Ken Rumble
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I have to agree fence or no fence it is was better than the empty run down buildings that were there. I am not crazy about another chain drug store but even that is better than the planned Wally World they want to build on farm land outside of town. The planning board slid that one through as well, wait until we see what that looks like! I'm certain it will fit right in with the rural road look. As if another one is needed in this area.
John Roach
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There is another family drug store in the County, Burlings, in Corfu.
David Guile
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why is the property for sale already
bud prevost
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What property are you referring to? Walmart land in Leroy?
David Guile
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walgreens
David Dodge
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I miss Tyler's a great deal. Javas is a chain so it is probably there to stay. One thing is for sure, if they don't actually open the doors of Walgreens no good whatsoever can come of it. The place is just sitting there, lifeless.
Andrew Erbell
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Tyler's went down hill considerably in the last year it was open. Scooter's put the final nail in that coffin. I don't believe you're right about Java's. We've had some Bible Studies there and everything is either made from scratch or delivered from Gregory's Bakery in Bergen. Walgreen's is putting the finishing touches on the inside and stocking shelves, have been for a couple of weeks now.
bud prevost
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Just want to clarify...Java's is locally owned and operated. Melissa Lytle and her mom are native Leroyans who are doing a very good job. And I miss Tylers also.
Bob Price
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Any NEW business should be welcomed in LeRoy-I remember walking uptown after school and going to the Smoke Shop for some candy,walking through G.C. Murphys and looking at toys,then going to Mcdonalds afterwards(early 80's)-driving down Main St Leroy nowadays,nothing really says come shop here....look at how many vacant storefronts in LeRoy now...heck,they couldn't even support a Dollar Tree!I'm beginning to think Wal Mart is re-thinking LeRoy-it sure would be a lot better than driving through over 20 lights to get to the one in Batavia.
Lorie Longhany
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LeRoy had a bustling downtown when I was growing up in the 60's and 70's. In fact, the police had to direct traffic on Friday nights it was that busy. Anything you could possibly want or need was on Main Street and every business locally owned and operated with all that revenue going right back into the community. We had living wage manufacturing jobs that helped support a thriving community with plenty of opportunity for the entrepreneur to open up shop and plenty of places for anyone willing to work to earn a decent wage. It really is sad to see what's transpired over the past few decades. Bob, do you remember the Sterling Diner? It was located where McDonald's is now, next to the gas station.
Beth Kinsley
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Lorie, remember when we had 2 shoe stores - Pat's Bootery and Endicott Johnson? And you could always get some nice clothes at the Bette Shop? How sad it was to see all of those stores go. Once they let McDonalds in, it was all downhill from there.
bud prevost
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I still miss the Smoke Shop. I enjoyed running into neighbors and friends. Have a cup of coffee, play some lottery,shoot the breeze. The good old days.
John Roach
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Beth, Endicott Johnson was a large chain store operation.
Peter O'Brien
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Yes, blame McDonald's! How dare they offer tasty food at a good price in a hurry!
Richard Gahagan
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Yeah lets keep all the 200 year old buildings and board them up and not let any new development come in forever.
Howard B. Owens
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Communities need what some sociologists now call "third places." (First place is home, second place is work, third place is the informal community gathering spot) The Smoke Shop sounds like it was just such a place. Third places are important sources of community information, and where people reinforce the community bonds that help ensure the health and welfare of the community. If you accept that strong, connected, engaged communities are vital to democracy, than third places are vital to communities. Third places are endangered for a variety of reasons -- the economic pressures caused by closing factories that lead to declining downtowns/villages; the pressure from big box stores and chains on small businesses; the natural generational loss of some small businesses, but with no replacements coming in behind; the longer commutes to work for many people, and the longer drives to centralized shopping locations (i.e., Veterans Memorial Drive); the overall decline of city centers, with fewer services available in central locations, bringing more people for more variety of reasons to those areas (i.e., post office, town hall (not a problem, per se, in Le Roy, but elsewhere) and, people with so many other options just not feeling the need to hang out at those old haunts, not realizing/valuing what they're missing. There is also an aspect where places like McDonald's contributes -- many third places used to be cafes and diners, places where people were took some time to eat and would run into friends and neighbors. At the fast food joints, if you even get out of the car, you're so unlikely to run into anybody you know that you're not going to have a chance to reinforce those important social bonds, or even meet the new guy in town in a meaningful way. Allowing McDonald's was indeed another mistake by Le Roy. It doesn't really do anything to contribute to the social and economic welfare of the village. Both Batavia and Le Roy could use another viable third place. Main Street Coffee last served that purpose in Batavia (and Javas may do that in Le Roy; I've not been there enough to know), though from what people tell me, it really declined in that regard over its last year or two. Billie and I explored the idea of supplementing what we do with The Batavian by opening what we hoped would be a third place, but decided we just don't have the time (The Batavian pretty much occupies all of my time).
Chelsea O'Brien
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Communities also need to support the "third places" though. I grew up in a small town and saw many of these places disappear because the people in the town/village didn't support them.
Lucille Van Son
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Howard, Isn't there suppose to be a coffee shop opening where the new work out center is going to be on the corner of Main & Jackson?
Peter O'Brien
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Third places are over rated in this day and age. The internet (like this site) provides the social interaction that used to be the barber shops and such. They still exist though, Dwyer Stadium, Main Street Pizza, Walmart!, Tops, Church. They won't disappear and even a McDonald's can be one. If someone is busy enough to use the drive through, more than likely they wouldn't have gotten in a conversation anyways.
bud prevost
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Let me expound on the third place I miss. It is a throwback store, with penny candy sold by the pound in hundred+ year old fixtures. Where if you wanted a magazine or paper, they had it or would start getting it for you. It was the smell of pipe tobacco, sold bulk style, not prepacked. It was 50 cent coffee, when it was a buck at the convenient store. It was talking Leroy football, village politics, world events. The internet is awesome for convenience, but pales gravely in personal interaction. I need to hear and speak emotion and body language. What good is talking with your hands if no one sees it?
Mike Corona
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Third places are all over! They are called bars stop in and have one there are always people to talk to. Remember the song from CHEERS
Bob Price
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I don't remember the Sterling diner-might have been before my time.I used to look forward to that one day a week usually that I walked uptown after school-I bought my first VCR in 1985 at Economy Appliance-anybody know what goes on at the old LeRoy Theatre now?Anybody here ever go to Conklin's Diner? Star Market,Ben Franklin,Western Auto-ahhh,the good old days.Going to Genesee Farms Dairy(across from S&S Limo) for breakfast or ice cream when my mom worked there......went to Soccio's Restaurant(I think that was the name-next to where credit union is now)-and I will never forget going to Rubinos Market to get fresh fruits and vegetables.
bud prevost
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Leroy Theater is now a church. Actually fixed up nice. Star Market, Rite aid and Ben Franklin all in a row. memories
Beth Kinsley
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G.C. Murphys! How I miss a good five and dime.
Lorie Longhany
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Howard, Java's is that 3rd place. It's a gathering place -- kind of a blast from the past. It took up the slack when we lost The Smoke Shop. When you walk in you never sit alone. You pull a chair up with a group. There's always a group outside on the bench to critique parallel parking skills. It's one of the last enclaves. And what has come up in conversation sitting around a community table in Java's? The old LeRoy days. When the factories let out at 3:30 and the the bars filled up. The shops that were mentioned by Beth -- The Bette Shop, The Towne Shop, The Economy and what about Pecks Meat Market "Where friends meet for meat". Ellis's, the B & R, Jenny Malone's, the Cut Rate Drug Store. It's still a great community, but the barren, empty Main Street is like a ghostly reminder of what it once was and will probably never be again. The "remember when's" leave me with a pit in my gut. I honestly think about how lucky I was to grow up in this town at that time in history and how sad it is that the kids of today don't even know what they are missing. The Sterling Diner had much much better food than McDonald's or any chain will ever have. Conk's served up breakfast at 2 in the morning when the bars closed. A few years back we formed a group and met a few times and discussed how we could help facilitate a renaissance by way of creating an art community. We probably should try to bring that group back together for more brain storming. I always thought that lofts and condos would be a great idea for all that empty 2nd and 3rd floor space. Maybe if some of the stimulus provided green retro fitting of these historic Main Street buildings they could become viable. People living and working in those spaces could spur more complimenting small businesses in the store fronts below. Bob, are you related to Joe? I saw him last summer at the Oatka Fest-- what a great kid.
John Roach
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Don't know about LeRoy, but the McDonald's in Batavia and the Tim Horton's seem to be "third place" spots in the mornings.
Timothy Hens
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All the memories of stores gone by are fantastic, but they will never be again. Society has changed--transformed by technology and the car. Successful villages like East Aurora, Saratoga Springs and Niagara-on-the-Lake all have some "theme" that attracts you there. Other than the Jello Museum, there isn't much else to draw outsiders to Le Roy. The concept to create an art community is spot on. I always thought something like this melded into taking advantage of the picturesque creekbank could create a buzz and get people into the Village. Middlebury, Vermont has something similar--it is a place called Frog Hollow. Started out as small cooperative that housed artwork, fine handmade furniture, pottery, jewelry--a pretty cool place. Now all the surrounding buildings are full of similar products and the Village street are active and full of tourists. They recently converted an old abandoned Marble Works (think Jello Factory)into an indoor mall with the same stuff plus coffee shops and restaurants. It could be done in Le Roy. Just needs a catchy name and space to start. Something Le Roy currently has plenty of. I own two buildings on Main Street, the former Med-Ex Building and the one between the Presbyterian Church and McDonalds (a.k.a the Barrett House). Both have retail storefronts and apartments above. The storefronts are tough to rent. Not sure what I'd do without haircuts and tattoos! We gutted and renovated a very large apartment and it rents with higher rent to young professionals with the "loft" feel to it. All of the Med Ex apartments are in awesome shape (some vintage 1920) and are always rented. So the downtown living can also be accomplished, but it takes someone to make the investment. I'd love to renovate the old garage out back next to McDonalds. It'd be a great place to start an art community in LeRoy, but it would be a costly undertaking as it needs a new roof and some windows.

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