Retail gets big in Springfield

I know it’s a holiday weekend, but this news can’t wait till Tuesday morning. Following my announcement yesterday, I went to meet with Josh, the owner of Inertia, to look at the new space. We talked about his plans for the new location and unloaded a pool table.

Josh was so excited he rambled off quite a few plans for the new Inertia. Seeing how excited he was I took care not to take too many things as concrete and just see how everything panned out. Well today Josh announced a plethora of plans for the new space on the Inertia blog. I’ll summarize them here:

  • Film series compliments of Tim, from the Jacksonville Film Festival / San Marco Theatre
  • Regular Freeschool’s such as bike repair, silkscreening, plumbing, composting, as well as programs like how to handle debt, how to write a resume.
  • Bizarre Market
  • Free Wi-Fi!!
  • The Riverside Health Resource Center outreach location
  • The have a projector so “video game competitons on the side of building are a full reality”
  • The commons area will have a free / donation pool table, foosball (Europeans call it kicker man!) , ping pong, some swank couches, that Double Dragon Game from Shanty Town
  • $1 cup of bottomless free trade coffee and book talks
  • Live music

So maybe Springfield retail is getting big. Market factors are pushing traditional retail locations like San Marco Square and 5-Points out of reach of small, local business. Will Springfield be the new 5-Points? Sounds like 5-Points is quickly becoming the new San Marco Square with it’s high rents and swank new tennants.

If you plan to open a business in 5-Points you better bring your merchandising skills and your wallet. Competition and customer expectations are rising in Riverside and new businesses are failing left and right. At least the one’s who don’t merchandise properly and present a finely tuned customer experience.

Springfield, with it’s lower rents (and foot traffic) is a bit more forgiving retail environment than 5-Points or older, more expensive sister, Avon-de-lay. Lower rents might sustain a Springfield business and help them stay open (hopefully) long enough for the residential density to catch-up.

In the more cut-throat 5- you have to hit the ground running and keep running if you want your business to succeed. With SJTC just a short drive away, there’s no room for a half-steppin’ retail venture. I’ve even heard rumors that one of the last bastions of Riverside kitsch, Fans and Stoves, has been bought up by commercial investors.

A big argument against opening a retail business in Springfield is there are no other retail businesses. It’s been a chicken and egg argument for too long. Today I’m declaring the egg came first. The egg has hatched and the chicken’s name is Inertia.

Viva la retail revolución! Viva la Springfield!

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