A Tosa resident for almost 20 years, Karen is a mom and freelance writer, addicted to playing tennis. When not on the tennis court, she spends the fall and winter in the stands at Green Bay Packer and Marquette basketball games.
Karen is the author of “Grab a Bite,” a dining out column and the former community columnist for the Wauwatosa NOW newspaper.
Now that Spring is officially here, I find myself noticing more things in and around Tosa. Sure, I see the lovely flowers popping out of the ground and a vibrant green abounds in every front yard and treescape.
But what I tend to notice are the empty or underutilized storefronts in our town. I hear rumors of the economy rebounding, so I can't help but think that somebody, anybody should be taking advantage of this and opening a fun new shop where there currently is nothing. Here are some examples and my suggestions for each:
The Locker's Pointe complex on 92nd and North Avenue - It started out as Stamm Chocolates and didn't last long. (Seriously, did you see the prices of their product? No surprise it didn't last.) This location seems ideal except for one major problem - parking. The popularity of Alterra has already maxed out the parking lot. I can't imagine that a retail shop would find this spot attractive unless they have no drive-up customers. Still, I'd like to see a specialty bakery here to complement the coffee shop.
The great godforsaken land on Burleigh west of Highway 100 - It used to be packed with car dealerships and now it looks like a ghost town. There's a group on Facebook called Open an IKEA Store in the Greater Milwaukee Area which has mentioned this particular spot. I'm firmly in support of that idea. It's next to the highway, there's plenty of room. Yeah!
The camera store on the corner of 88th and North Avenue - It seems like they're still in business yet there never seems to be anybody there. That corner is ideal for something new and fun! How about a cupcake bakery here?!
The recently closed Furniture Clearance Center - The space is HUGE, parking is abundant and it's a nice location. How about a great big DAY SPA?! I can just see droves of women wandering in for manis, pedis and massages after dropping the kiddies off at school. Ahhhhh.......
The former Drew's location - This is a tough one. I won't kid you, parking is a challenge. There have been rumblings about opening Harwood up so that you can drive through, but that won't add more parking. I also heard that condos were planned, but that seems to have quieted down lately. Maybe Joe Bartolotta could open up a cooking school here!
I have one final question: It's not really in Tosa, but it's just outside - Papa Joe's on the corner of Vliet and Hawley. Can somebody explain this place to me? It's NEVER open, their sign is down to one lightbulb and on the RARE occasion that they are open, I literally have never seen a customer in there.
So, what would YOU like to see in these and other empty or underutilized storefronts in Tosa?