May 9, 2008

One Step Forward Three Steps Back

The Momentum has been building we have been Realizing the Vision. Main Street Catonsville has been on the course of becoming a Destination Town. We have been Attracting New Restaurants and Retail Shops.

I guess it was inevitable, that not everyone would share the Vision. I am sure they have their reasons. Maybe they are driven by taking profits (the lure of a fast buck), over creating value ( long term improvement). Whatever, their Motivation, Some Property Owners are responsible for changes to Frederick Rd. that are heading our way soon. These Changes could affect the feel of our business district.

The Beautiful Stone Building at the Corner of Frederick Rd. & Newburg Ave, with it's great display windows, the one that used to house Ray Persinger's Photo Studio, has been leased to a construction Company. While I understand that this is a fine company and that they plan on putting a nice display in the Front Window, it is a shame to loose such a high profile retail site, one that could have been a Great Shop or Boutique, to a business that will be primarily used as offices and a Billboard - targeting drive by traffic. We were just starting to shake the image that - CATONSVILLE IS A DRIVE-BY TOWN.

Word is out that the Building which Houses- Record & Tape Traders, is under contract to be sold and that the new Owners are going to use the Entire Building as Offices for a Staffing Company. That they will Kick Record & Tape Traders Out! I think that it would be awful if Music City Maryland were to lose it's only Record Store.


It was just a few short Months ago, that Value Music, of Atlanta Georgia, bought the Records & Tape Traders Chain and we faced the possibility of losing this Anchor Store, from our business district. I had the good fortune to meet with the President of Value Music, just this past month. He shared his company's desire to stay here on Frederick Rd. and expand their offerings. He told me that they were very interested in purchasing the building that they had been leasing, but, apparently it was too late. There was already a contract in place to purchase the building.

The Mattress Store moved out after a very short stay(Yea!) and we got a Nice Dress Shop in it's place. Now, the Neighbors next door -Shockett's Fabric's and Printed Apparel -have both closed shop and left. Hopefully, Joe Loverde, who manages these properties will be able to Negotiate an Agreement between the Owner's of these properties and Value Music, an Agreement that will KEEP RECORD & TAPE TRADERS ON FREDERICK RD.

Bill's Music has expanded into the large building that he built behind the Building that Once Housed Wilson's Lumber. Now Bill's Music has all of their operations under one roof. Good for them, I hope this makes things a little easier for them. It is quite a Shame though to see that the Old Bill's Music has been leased to what can only be described as a Medical Supply Superstore. I am sure, with all of the Elder Care Facilities in the area that business is booming. And I am happy for them that they needed to move from their smaller store on Frederick to a larger location, but, do they really need to be on Frederick Rd? Wouldn't it have been great to see Bill's create another Landmark in Catonsville instead?. Maybe a Restaurant that featured LIVE MUSIC. Wow, imagine having a place, Like The Ram's Head, right here in Music City Maryland!, another great opportunity lost.

It is not that any of these businesses are bad businesses, or that any of these people are bad people. But, when Property is Leased or Sold and Prime Retail Space is utilized for Office's or a business like the Medical Supply Store, it drastically changes the Feel of our Business District. How many people are going to travel to Catonsville to buy a wheel chair and then stay to shop or dine in Catonsville? How many People will even visit the store to make their purchases? Isn't most of this type of business done over the Telephone and delivered? Or through Insurance? Office Buildings employee workers, that will park their cars all day, making it more difficult for Our Retail Businesses to succeed. Small Retail Shops depend on parking spaces turning over many times during the day, bringing in new customers. The fact is ...More Retail businesses bring more Retail Customers. Office Buildings bring Office worker's. Office worker's usually leave by 5:30 PM and go home, more often than not without supporting the local Restaurants for dinner. This is what causes the feeling that CATONSVILLE ROLLS UP IT'S STREETS AND CLOSES AT 6PM. Please support the Shops and Restaurants on Frederick Rd. and encourage your friend's that own Property on Frederick Rd. to bring more Stores - NOT OFFICES - to Frederick Rd.


Anonymous said...


I whole-heartedly agree with everything you wrote. It's so refreshing to see that my wife and I (and every one of our local friends) are not the only ones who feel this way. Catonsville is loaded with potential. We all are forced to spend our money elsewhere however because the town does not support so many needs the average person/family has.

I'm very disappointed to hear of the Ray Persinger and Record and Tape Traders spaces are going to those types of businesses. My hope is that places like Catonsville Gourmet bring more places that give us all the opportunity to spend our money locally.

Things have to continue to improve. There's an entire generation of people living in Catonsville that appreciate a small town that actually has a heartbeat. Young people and young families that don't subscribe to the Columbia lifestyle.

Thanks for the blog, and the info.

Joe B. said...


I agree as well. We moved here to try and capture that small town feel. I love walking down Fredrick Road and stopping by R/T Traders. It would be a tragedy to push them away from our main street. Wow, it would be nice to have a larger scale bar/restaurant/music space in town. Shall we preemptively change our name to Medical Device City Maryland? Thanks for all your efforts.


Anonymous said...


A question for you. Is there anything that we as readers can do to get involved with the continued efforts of the Fredrick Rd. revitalization? As a resident, I really would hate to loose more music centered businesses.


Anonymous said...

My husband and I have been thrilled with the recent additions to "main street" and it breaks my heart that those accomplishments may be marked by losing such great businesses like Record and Tape Traders. What is a walk to the coffee shop without a stop at Record and Tape Traders? Anything we can do?

On the Lighter Side!