So this is almost a month old but I was surfing around the Womag website and came upon this interview with Rajesh Patel, manager of the Newsroom on Front St. Dude seems to really dislike his business.
What strikes me though is two questions at the bottom of the page. One is a follow up of a question where Womag asks if he has had any ideas to turn the store into something else.
Part of his reply is this: "Some people are telling me to turn it into a grocery store, but I can’t do that because people downtown who come by bus won’t bring their groceries from here to home on the bus."
What the hell Rajesh? There are about 600 people living right across the common from you. Do you even know that?
Then the interviewer asks what he likes about doing business on Front St Patel responds: "The foot traffic and the bus stop keeps us going. If there was no bus stop, we would have been closed a long time ago."
The densely populated urban areas of Worcester are coming, maybe not right away but the writing is on the wall and they will be here. Federal Sq, in and of itself will be a very densely populated place most likely by the 2010 census with 11 buildings of dense housing all within a seven block radius that will be mostly filled by then.
The businesses that are going to come out ahead of the curve in that neighborhood and the adjacent neighborhoods are going to be the ones that figure out how to take advantage of the needs of the folks who live in these buildings. It's obvious by this article that even if you know there are people living in these buildings you are already at an advantage over some of your competition because some of them don't even know that. I wonder how many people on Front and Franklin are even factoring in the skating rink into their winter 09/10 plans of attack.
Also, I remember hearing rumors about a year ago that the Newsroom was looking to change formats into a liquor store which was denied by the city. At the time I was glad because my thinking was all they were trying to do was capitalize on the void left by Bancroft Liquors on the 40oz and nip market. Sorry to see I was correct in that assumption.
Place always left a bad taste in my mouth and even though it is right across the common from me as a citizen of the neighborhood I don't find much reason to go in there. I would like to hope that in the future this might change, but after reading this interview it's hard to keep the faith.