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Fears surround Front Street construction

READ MORE: Fears surround Front Street construction
Wilmington City Council has some big plans for improving downtown, but some business owners are worried they will not be around by the time the work is finished. “As a small business owner, in this economy, I've had enough challenges this year,” said owner of Daughtry’s Old Books, Gwenyfar Rohler. Front Street construction improvements were originally scheduled to start in October, but downtown business owners said they would not survive the mess during the holiday season. Rohler said, “I found the city of Wilmington very receptive when I talked with people and explained my concerns.” The start date has since been pushed back to January, with the project expected to take six to eight months to complete. The city will install new sidewalks, lights, and traffic signals, while CFPUA will install new water and sewer lines. City of Wilmington spokesperson, Malissa Talbert said, “The whole point is to get visitors downtown and then to get them into the businesses for our merchants.” But owners say they are skeptical of the timeline. “January through April is not going to be as critical a time for us, but I am concerned about them staying on schedule,” added Rohler. Owner of Momentum Surf and Skate, Hunter Ford said, “I'm concerned that they're going to get in and they're not going to get the bid in on time and they're not going to start the project until the second or third week of February, and then they're going to take ten months to do it.” To help keep the work on track, the contract includes plans for 16-hour work days and a $2,000 a day incentive if construction is finished early. “Once you get started, you want to get in and get out as quick as you possibly can,” Talbert said. Business owners hope that is the case, but they can't worry about it too much – They have got a business to run.

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I think it would have been a good idea for the city to reimburse the merchants for any lost revenue during the construction. It is easy enough to do. Just ask them what their revenue was during the same period last year. The city would make up the difference. We need to do everything we can to protect the downtown merchants. I would also agree about the parking. It should be free. I know that I don't go downtown as much due to the cost.


We should also reimburse the panhandlers that will most certainly be inconvenienced by the construction. I'm sure many of them will have to find a new, less attractive sidewalk to swindle the downtown patrons. Someone must see that they don't experience a significant drop in alcohol purchasing power.

What about the recession?

Sales would also be down from last year because of increased unemployment and decreases in consumer spending. Plus, where would that money come from? It doesn't grow on trees - it has to come from taxpayers.


That has got to be one of the most idiotic statements I have heard in a long time. Reimburse the merchants? Are you just trying to bankrupt the city? How about when a Hurricane comes along, should I get reimbursed because I have to close down? Same thing...a natural element that causes me to shut down so that city property can be repaired. How about heavy rain? The merchants there CHOOSE to operate their business downtown and with that comes the knowledge that the facilities are older and need more upkeep. If they can't even afford to stay closed for a few days then they probably aren't making money anyway...

Mrs. Talbert, if the city

Mrs. Talbert, if the city wants more residents to come shopping downtown the very first thing they need to do is get rid of the parking meters. I am not going to pay to park when I can get the very same product somewhere else and not have to pay to park.

Even that won't help

Other than restaurants, the downtown merchants are doomed to exist on tourist dollars. Think about it - exactly what can you purchase downtown that you can't purchase elsewhere in a safer environment that smells better? For those niche items that can only be found downtown, do you REALLY need a peace-sign pendant with a built-in roach-clip, or a poster of Bob Marley????

Give it up Common

Just curious...which Northern State are you from? Cause we don't roll like that down here...we support our local merchants! Gosh, I'm so glad I'm not a miserable old man, you know...they do make meds for the depression you seem to be under...!!

Oh, I'm sorry....

I'm sure that YOU do need a peace-sign pendant with a built-in roach clip and a poster of Bob Marley. There are TONS of local merchants residents can patronize without having their olfactory senses assaulted by the smell of stale wino urine. Mayfaire....Landfall Center....Independence Mall....the Oleander and College Road corridors.... Exactly WHAT can you ONLY find downtown? Why would anyone ever want to go downtown to shop? Is filth a bonus? Thanks for playing, and proving once again that when ol' Common speaks the plain, honest truth, the only course of action you can fall back on is to attack the messenger without refuting anything posted. Good luck with that rolling thing....

Locally owned merchants at Mayfaire and Independce Mall? I'm curious...

re: : Locally owned merchants at Mayfaire and Independce Mall?

Yesss, I'd like to know as well. Most, to my knowledge are giant corporate owned entities that could give a rats patootie about Wilmington or the local merchants. I've lived in Wilmington almost 40 yrs and owned a business in the downtown area since 1985, back in the day when Wilmington was STILL Wilmington. When there was still a bit of GRACE left in this world. Our fair town has suffered the fate of many a small city, a fate caused by people who thought that letting big business come in would some how enhance life. But of course once the big business comes out goes the local merchant and all that made the place what it was that was charming to the tourist. It is not just the economy that has driven the tourists away but the lack of anything left here to visit, especially downtown. Such a shame really. How I miss the old seafood restaurants that used to be so plentiful! :(

Can you place a value on "grace?"

Get real! The average family that shops at the big-box stores and supermarkets saves literally THOUSANDS of dollars every year. Altruism ends at the checkbook. No one is going to pay more for an item so that you can enjoy life. They want to enjoy THEIR life. If Sam Walton's kids can sell a widget cheaper than you, guess where 99% of folks are going to buy that widget? Wecome to real life. Times change and what WAS is no more. You "small local merchant" fans are nothing more than economic Luddites, raging against a tide that rose years ago... ...and that leads directly to the question of the hour. Unless you have a specialized marketing niche that no one else is filling, you are NOT going to compete against the Mayfaires, the Landfall Centers, the Independence Malls....and most of all, the Internet. So please tell us: Exactly WHAT can you find only in downtown that you can't find elsewhere for less money?

ah ha

ANTIQUES ! Normally if I find something I like downtown its hard to find another at Walmart. Gotcha.

Southport is better for that, Das

You don't have to go downtown to shop for antiques, but I accept that that is one reason. Thanks for providing a valid response. They're obviously rare around here.

Please, change your ID

There's nothing "savvy" about you. Do you have any concept of franchising? Who do you think owns stores such as Hallmark, Great American Cookie, GNC...and most of the restaurants? How about the family owned businesses, such as Reed's Jewlers and Cape Fear Formal? Now how about YOU answering a question, the one I asked earlier? Exactly what can you get downtown and nowhere else? Why would anyone go downtown? Cheap prices? Ha! Is there some fascination with shopping in an area that, like a Transylvania cemetary, you had BETTER be out before sundown? Dying to read your answer...


Everything isn't about the almighty dollar.

re: Everything isn't about the almighty dollar.

THANK YOU!!! Money is necessary yes but it should not rule our every decision in this world. I feel sorry for commonsense (although I feel they should change their ID as not much of what I read from them is common sense, just more like aggravating!) I don't get the feeling they/it has any fun in this world. Too bad.

...and I feel sorry because NONE of you....

..can answer my question. Don't feel bad. There really IS no answer, because there really is no reason whatsoever to shop downtown. Glad I can aggravate you. Maybe it will wake you up, start you thinking, and you can join the Twenty-first Century, Luddite.

I hate Common like most of you, but....

....are you living in the same country as I am???

Great idea for a WWAY poll

How do you feel about Commonsensenotcommontoday? 1. Love him, because he's spot on and 100% accurate 2. Don't really give a hoot about him, but he's spot on and 100% accurate 3. Hate his guts because he's spot on and 100% accurate.

Again...a legend in your OWN mind...

How about a poll that asks about "Commonwhoeverwhat...": 1. Is he really the only one that believes he is 100% accurate? 2. Is he a true to form, classic narcissist with self absorbed fantasies of grandeur and admonition? 3. Is he a bitter old man that lacks compassion and is perfect in every way imaginable? 4. Why didn't his mother get help for him after dropping him on his big head?

I must be like heroin to you

You hate me SOOOOOO much..... .....but you can't stay away....

You convince yourself it's not about the money

Guess again, Pollyanna. People inherently want to get what they want for the lowest cost....but let's accept your premise and say that it's not about the money. You're filthy rich and you can afford to spend more for anything you want. So, you should go miles out of your way to shop downtown because_______________. Please fill in the blank. (Why can no one answer this question??????? You'll cry like stuck puppies when I list high prices/cheaper elsewhere, urban filth and crime as reasons to go elsewhere, but not a single one of you can come up with a reason why we SHOULD shop downtown.)


You speak truth on what I've seen from your comments, ppl can't handle truth anymore due to entitlement and political correctness. You are fighting a battle that won't be won in our current conditions of Godliness surrounding us. Don't give up but don't expect real major eye openers. However, that being said, I also haven't seen all the comments but I'm sure people will think I'm a freak Who cares what others think any longer, they've lost their minds anyway.

My favorite is when...

...they start to psychoanalyze me, and decide that I'm unhappy and depressed because I dare speak the truth. I don't get depressed - it's my job to get THEM depressed.

re: You convince yourself it's not about the money

Money, most only have so much left over after the bills etc, and where they spend that bit of extra is what it's all about. All merchants want a piece of that little extra spending cash in your pocket. I do some of my shopping downtown but ONLY at the stores of the Cotton Exchange. They have the best jewelry store in town - T.S. Brown, the best & only British Isles shop - The Celtic Shoppe, I buy gifts from the man who has that incredible glass shop, pottery from the co-op and I LOVE The German Cafe for lunch/dinner! And the Cotton Exchange has FREE parking too!! I do shop for bargins and sales when warranted from where ever I can find them. To totally bash downtown shopping is not fair. Everyone has the right to shop where they want. Downtown Wilmington used to be the only place to shop (pre mall days), not so anymore. Most nice stores have left downtown many moons ago for the mall or shopping centers. They were replaced by a rotating menagerie of eateries, bars and novelty stores. There are a few nice stores (not the ones with the roach clips - touche) but they have priced themselves out of most peoples wallets. If I had $600.00 to spend on a dress I'd probably purchase it from somewhere other than downtown. Oh, and the parking meters, lots of people don't go downtown just because of the meters. There's the parking decks but I don't know anyone who has ever used one of them. Oh well, I guess this thread has about run it's course. The city of Wilmington and it's charming city council have their work cut out for them. Good luck all!

That's a good reply

You shop at selected merchants for specific types of items. That makes perfect sense. But nowhere have I claimed that people don't have a right to shop downtown. My only point is that for most items, you'd have to be nuts to shop downtown. It seems even you agree with that.

Common sense

Well, Mr common sense, here is why we should spend money downtown. Without downtown, Wilmington is just another mall. Without downtown, we could stroll the malls and buy overpriced junk made in China. The buttons will fall off before you get it home. Without downtown, we are just Myrtle Beach. What a wonderful thing that would be. Would you like that, "Mr. common sense?" Some of us, "Mr. common sense", have the courage to defend our ideas under our real name. What about you?

That's all pure rhetoric

You provide no substance at all. Another mall? Another Myrtle Beach? What kind of vague, nebulous nonsense is that? As far as overpriced junk made in China, again, pure rhetoric. If it was all junk, people wouldn't buy it. There are a LOT of goods coming in from China that are as fine as anything we manufacture. People aren't stupid. If a product lets them down, they will not buy that product again. The simple fact is that the T-shirts made in Lesotho, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, or China last just as long as the T-shirts made in Greensboro, and they sell for half the price because of reduced labor costs. Last year I was surprised to find that Danner had placed their name on a boot made in China. They've turned out to be one of the best pairs of boots I've ever owned. As far as posting under my own name, do you know why I don't? Because I don't have to. Live with it. It's more an indication of common sense than any lack of courage.

Don't care

Just because you post your name you should gain credibility? Not how it works but nice try.


Most things they sell everywhere else they don't sell downtown so there must be other reasons to shop there.I hear people go to Southport to shop and I'm sure it's not at Sam's kids store,so there must be a reason for it.Nobodys saying we SHOULD shop there.Most shops are closed a night and not alot of crime during the day as you would have us to believe.Have you ever been downtown? Some go for the atmosphere for one.I know you are going to say nothing but dirty hippys but you are wrong.So to sum up people don't shop there for average everyday itims.