Parade of new businesses

The Holiday Parade marches down Franklin Street this Saturday, starting at 10 a.m. in front of the post office. Here’s a list of businesses along the parade route that are new in the past year, and some that have closed:

Top This! opened in the former Jack Sprat Café spot. Insomnia Cookies opened where Clothes Hound had been. A Waffle House opened where YoFrutt used to be.

Tomato Jake’s left after less than a year in the space that had been Franklin Street Pizza & Pasta for years. Korchipi, a Korean fusion restaurant, took over the spot and within a few months was bought out by another Korean restaurateur, who changed the name to Chopsticks & More.

Pepper’s Pizza closed after 26 years. Owner Pepper Harvey said shorter lunch breaks on campus and new dining options offered by Aramark on campus ate into his business.

Carolina Pride closed. CVS Drugstore opened in the former Bank of America space.

Businesses began fleeing University Square once the Town Council approved the redevelopment of the lot to be known as 123 West Franklin. Glee Kids, William Travis Jewelry, Cynthia’s Tailor Shop and Chapel Hill Barber Shop all scouted out places at University Mall. Franklin Street Yoga moved to The Courtyard. The Eye Care Center moved across the street to 140 West. Ken’s Quickie Mart and Butternut Squash Café closed, as did 35 Chinese restaurant. Time Out got its lease extended until February. The fate of Peacock Alley, Fine Feathers and Kidzu Children’s Museum is up in the air.

140 West opened and began booking retail tenants. Lime Fresh Mexican Grill and Gigi’s Cupcakes were the first to open.

Tom Cat’s II massage parlor closed. Next door, Trilussa la Trattoria closed, too (we don’t believe there was a connection), and Mozzarella took over the tiny dining space.

Mellow Mushroom opened, with a new outdoor wall mural by Michael Brown, particularly satisfying given that Lantern owner Andrea Reusing painted over a Michael Brown mural on the side of her restaurant across the street, turning it into a solid black wall when she expanded into the space next door. Black fit better with the new décor, she said.

Kildaire’s Irish Pub closed and was succeeded by Fitzgerald’s Irish Pub.

Kipos Greek Taverna and Kalamaki Greek Street Food, the two latest George Bakatsias eateries, opened in The Courtyard.

The Chocolate Door closed; Al’s Burger Shack moved into the space.

Hampton Inn & Suites opened in Carrboro and welcomed its first retail tenant in ground-floor storefront space: Cameron Gallery, formerly of U Mall. Nice Price Books closed. A 500-space parking deck opened. Fireplace Editions moved to Chapel Hill, off Eubanks Road.

Plan to shop your way along the route. Local merchants appreciate your business.
– Nancy Oates

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  1. Our family ate at Al’s Burger Shack last week and it was outstanding. You should check it out.

  2. George C

     /  December 9, 2013

    Out Downtown business district isn’t so big that anyone Downtown for the parade shouldn’t consider patronizing the businesses on the streets off of Franklin as well, such as Henderson, Columbia, Graham and Rosemary . I believe there are several new or relocated businesses on both Graham and Rosemary.

  3. Terri Buckner

     /  December 9, 2013

    We should all patronize existing businesses, not just the new ones. I personally love Buns, Sugarland, Med Deli, Vimalas, Light Years, and Chapel Hill Tire.

  4. DOM

     /  December 9, 2013

    And don’t forget Kurama! Best deal on sushi in the Triangle!

  5. Bonnie Hauser

     /  December 9, 2013

    If you talk to the businesses at U-Mall, they will tell you that they really appreciate the higher foot traffic in the mall. They believe parking is an issue

    Last weekend – despite the awful weather, the HIllsborough parade and home tours were packed. As was every restaurant in town. And the parking deck – now owned by the county and providing free parking – was full

    Anyone know how parking fees are impacting downtown businesses?

  6. many

     /  December 9, 2013

    Is CHT going to run buses from the ParknRide?

  7. Linda

     /  December 9, 2013

    Parking downtown Chapel Hill is free for on-street parking and most of the downtown lots every weekend through December

    And for those of you over 63, there is a great discount you can get in the lots that have attendants.

  8. many

     /  December 10, 2013


    Thank you.

  9. Bruce Springsteen

     /  December 13, 2013

    I’m going to have to take issue with the notion that we should automatically shop at all these stores that have been opening. Why should someone shop at a store just because it’s open?

    It seems there’s an ethic that stores should be given money just because they’re open. But consider the flip side. Have any of you ever been sitting in your house and had the doorbell ring and open it and find someone saying “I own a store and I’m here to give you $5 for no particular reason?.” It never happens. If they don’t give you money for no reason why should you give them money for no reason.

    The whole reason markets work is that when someone tries to sell something they have to entice the buyer and make it worth their while, instead of people buying something solely because someone else is selling it.

  10. Bruce Springsteen

     /  December 13, 2013

    Undefined? Why does it say undefined? That was me, The Boss…down…in…jun…gle…land. ETA: Okay, it doesn’t say “undefined” anymore. A minute ago my previous post said it came from “undefined” instead of by my posting name.

  11. DOM

     /  December 13, 2013

    Try MacDonald’s on W. Franklin. Great burgers!

  12. Bruce Springsteen

     /  December 14, 2013

    I may be misreading it but I get the impression from Bonnie’s post that she says that people at U-Mall believe the lack of parking hurts them. I am in that area a fair amount and I’ve never seen it full. I was there today at 11:30 a.m. and I made a point of driving around to check. Despite the fact that one chunk of the lot was blocked off for Christmas tree sales and another chunk was blocked off for something else, Farmer’s Market maybe, there were still plenty of spaces. Granted, 11:30 a.m. is before the peak time of day but then again it’s a Saturday shortly before Christmas.

    I’ve noticed that lot used for other non-U-mall purposes, like a park and ride for UNC games. I suspect the reason it’s used for other reasons sometimes in the first place is that the spaces otherwise go unused. If there was a high enough demand for spaces amongst people wanting to shop at the mall I think the mall tenants would demand those spaces be made available for U-Mall shoppers rather than for other purposes.

    That lot is small enough that there are no bad spaces. Any space you get is better than many or most spaces at New Hope Commons and Southpoint and yet people go those places in droves.

    A high end cinema is going to open in the Dillard’s space. Despite the fact that it’s high end I bet it succeeds. Why? Because there are lots of people in that area but no movie theaters. There should have been a movie theater in that area already. In fact, as I’m sure some of you remember, where was a movie theater in that area already, the next street over on Elliott Rd. It’s where that big, empty fenced off area is now.

    It had 3 or 5 screens I think and then owners wanted to expand and were in the process of doing, which is how the initial building it was in got torn down, and then there was some disagreement between the owners and the town over how the new complex would be built and the owners just decided to do nothing instead.

    That was 10 years or so ago. Ten years of no sales tax revenue. Ten years of no walk by business for other stores there from people that were in the area already to go to the theater. Ten years of people from that broad general area driving farther, to Southpoint or wherever, to go to the movies. Why?

    There will be a movie theater in that area soon but it’s not the beginning of something good and instead the cessation of something bad.

    And even then, we’ll have gone over a 10 year period from one Dillard’s and one movie complex to one movie complex and one big, fenced off area. Other than the people that sold the fencing who exactly did that whole fiasco benefit?

  13. many

     /  December 14, 2013

    Not sure, but I think it was a typo on Bonnie’s part and she meant University Square/Granville Towers.which is slated for redevelopment.

    I had forgotten about the movie theater on Elliot. How time flies

    Having just returned from the chaos they call Southpoint, I agree I would never go there voluntarily. It’s like World War Z.

    I completely agree that the U-Mall IMAX will provide a great draw and probably some new restaurants. Overall it is an excellent use of the space.

  14. Bonnie

     /  December 14, 2013

    Sorry for the confusion. I was referring to the lack of parking downtown. The U-mall businesses I spoke to we’re thrilled to be there rather than downtown.

    Glad to see Linda’s post that parking is free for December.

  15. Geoff Green

     /  December 15, 2013

    Kidzu is temporarily moving to University Mall while they try to fund and build their new museum on the Wallace Deck site.

    The problem with parking downtown is that there are many different places to park, some of which are open to all comers, some of which are only for specific businesses, and it can be a pain to drive around to different lots to find a space. Particularly during the times of the day and week that parking in downtown Chapel Hill costs money, I don’t have much trouble finding a space.

  16. many

     /  December 16, 2013

    Geoff, you should write the Chapel Hill Parking app.

  17. bonnie hauser

     /  December 17, 2013

    Geoff – ian’t that the problem – there’s no one around when the stores are open because people prefer to shop where parking is easy and free.

  18. Geoff Green

     /  December 17, 2013

    “I don’t have much trouble finding a space” doesn’t equal “there’s no one around when the stores are open.” Having free parking in downtown Chapel Hill is, unfortunately, incompatible with creating a pedestrian friendly environment, unless the government (or private parties) are interested in investing substantial sums of money in structured parking facilities so that the excess demand for parking that free parking generates can be accommodated by adequate supply.

  19. bonnie hauser

     /  December 18, 2013

    theoretically – maybe. There are many car friendly communities that are pedestrian friendly. Zoning can (and IMO should) assure adequate parking. Vibrant, downtown storefronts contribute to a “pedestrian friendly.environment”.

    Regardless of your ideological stand, its really simple. People do what’s convenient. If its hard to park in Chapel Hill, and easy and free to park in Durham, at U-Mall, Mebane or elsewhere, people will be less likely to shop in downtown Chapel Hill.

    Don’t ask me, talk to the store owners.

  20. Chris Jones

     /  December 18, 2013

    Bonnie –
    I can’t really tell what you’re asking for, but it seems that you are advocating for free parking, everywhere, in downtown? If so, let me be the first to tell you that that would exacerbate any perceived parking issues, not alleviate them.
    Universally free parking downtown = universally filled with students who live off campus (and today may walk, bike, bus, or carpool because they don’t want to pay for parking).
    I’ve said for many years in my work downtown or on the partnership board, we do NOT have a parking problem downtown. Rather, we have a perception problem. The town and the CHDP have done some great work to help mitigate those problems: renaming the lots where they make sense for visitors (rather than “Lot 2, Lot 5, etc), better signage at the lots, and better wayfinding signage for parking. The CHDP created the website, and parking maps that are published on their site and the town’s site. Additionally, they worked with numerous private property owners to create additional spaces available on nights and/or weekends.
    Finally, I’m happy for the new U-mall tenants that they found a place that seems to be a good fit for them, but if there is any group of merchants who should NOT complain about parking, its the former tenants of University Square. Their problem wasn’t parkingm or the walkability of downtown – – it was a crappy layout of a strip mall located in the DMZ between East and West Franklin. That dynamic will change immeasurably when 143 Frankin comes up and is street-side (similar to 140 West).

  21. Bonnie

     /  December 18, 2013

    Chris – I’m not advocating for anything. And I love the plan to change the layout of downtown. That will help.

    I’m only pointing out that there are consequences and people have choices. And given the crowds at the malls (including U-Mall and Tanger in Mebane), they appear to not be choosing downtown for their holiday shopping. The merchants seem to understand this.

    I believe parking is part of the problem. Of course, anchors like A Southern Season or many stores at the major malls help. What will “draw” people to Chapel Hill – and will it be enticing enough to overlook parking challenges?

    People vote with their dollar and their feet.

  22. many

     /  December 23, 2013

    We’re #3 !, We’re #3 ! We’re #3 !

    Behind Hoboken and La Crosse…….

  23. Bruce Springsteen

     /  December 29, 2013

    In case anyone needs reminded that “Best of ” lists are nothing more than a marketing gimmick whose content often consists of complete nonsense, take a look at that one. Not that I think Chapel Hill is a bad place, although the idea of ranking places is inherently silly anyway as long as different people have different preferences. But here is what they wrote:

    “One point of North Carolina’s “Research Triangle” and home to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill claimed a fourth place finish for active life options, which isn’t surprising given its large student population. Nor should its 14th place ranking for nightlife be, when you consider it’s home to spots like Local 506 and Cave, venues that play host to world-renowned musical acts throughout the year.

    While Chapel Hill only ranked 49th for the percentage of non-fast food chain restaurants it boasts, that’s not to say there aren’t plenty of unique gems like the Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen and Merritt’s, where the BLT is not so much a sandwich as it is an artform.”

    Let’s dissect what they wrote.

    Local 506 and The Cave host world-renowned music acts throughout the year? No they don’t. I doubt either one of them has hosted a world-renowned music act even once. (I mean acts that were world-renowned at the time. I’ve heard tales of REM or whoever playing The Cave and then becoming world-renowned later, but that doesn’t count.)

    Unique gems like Sunrise Biscuit and Merritt’s, where the BLT is an art form? Isn’t that a little much? I’ve eaten at Sunrise Biscuit and I’ve eaten Merritt’s BLT and while they were pretty good, the same goes for just about every place I eat.

    I don’t have anything against Local 506 or The Cave or Sunrise Biscuit or Merritt’s but being realistic, can you imagine moving to Chapel Hill based on that recommendation and then visiting those places? They add a bit of local color but they’re not something to base a ranking on. The biggest effect any of them has on the area is that Merritt’s, by pretty much giving up on being an actual grocery store, forces people that live near it that want a few groceries to drive all the way to U-Mall or Glenwood or Chatham Wal-Mart or Carrboro or whatever.

  24. many

     /  December 30, 2013

    Bruce, Agreed. The article is specious fluff. On the other hand it does give people a starting point for lifestyle moves. I am a bit more surprised by what was not mentioned than by what was.