One exception would be Grand Av. That avenue is full of trendy, funky shops where one can find clothing, shoes, jewelry, home furnishings, art to name a few things. Oh, don't get me wrong. The city sure tried to ruin Grand. Several years ago they started letting in chain stores. Yeah, that's smart. Let's put in the same stores that are in all of the suburbs in an area with only street parking and one parking lot. Yes indeed. People will flock to the area to shop in the exact same stores they can find at a mall, just for the excitement of driving around looking for a spot to park for the first hour and a half. That works. Thankfully, the residents of the neighborhood protested this destruction of all things funky and passed a moratorium on allowing any more chains. Whew.
The genius's of city planning weren't having it. Why have a thriving neighborhood with good retail when they could slowly erode it and then, in a few decades, throw millions at it and brag to the residents of the city that they had "come to the rescue" of a neighborhood in decline and "fixed" it!
How about if you didn't let it decline in the first place? First it was the strip mall. Someone new bought it. Someone who buys up strip malls and turns them into ghetto shopping. A discount card shop. Hallmark left and then so did the crappy discount place. The Thrift Store and a used clothing store. T. J. Max (yeah, I know one in a million people find cute things there. Once a century). Bye-bye to upscale Sonnies, Penney's, and Casual Corner. Famous Footware. See ya, shoe store. Dollar Store. A health club that is really a joke. A chain grocery store with half the products it's other locations have. I can feel Byerly's pain.
The people moving in are changing now, too. Fighting in the yards, with people yelling at each other. More piles of cars all living on one rental. Because, yes, houses are being turned into rentals. Our little street is still good. A lot of the neighborhood homes still are good and the streets nice. But there is grumbling. I see the writing on the wall. They are set on ruining our little paradise so that they can rebuild in twenty years and brag about how they saved it. Bastards.
Oh, and downtown St. Paul? NOTHING RETAIL! There used to be lots of stores. Now there is a Macy's more like a Sears. When is the last time you have shopped for clothes at a Sears? Point made. Oh, and a men's haberdashery for those who pay $500.00 for a shirt. Other than that, we don't want your money. Go to the suburbs.
Oh, St. Paul. You are the state capitol! There should be pride here. Instead you are hell bent on making the city an embarrassment to live in. Congratulations, you are winning. We are so sad about this decline, but powerless to do anything about it. Cries fall on deaf ears. St. Paul, you should be ashamed. Hang you head and cry. I sure am.