Fantasy Picks For Montclair Village

While making the regular stroll around the Montclair Farmers Market yesterday, it hit me that four prime storefronts are currently available for rent.  They are located on Mountain Blvd and La Salle Ave, right in the heart of these Montclair streetscape plans.

What a perfect opportunity for fantasy picks!  Even in this recession, there must be some kinds of shops we would embrace.  Given our penchant to travel to other Oakland districts, Berkeley and distant points, there are many possibilities.

Vision of Montclair (MVA)

Drumroll please…here are Today in Montclair’s fantasy picks to fill the open storefronts.  We have suggested different food and non-food options, and wonder if they could fly.

1 .  Vacant Jamba Juice store

  • Food – Offer Middle Eastern takeout, including authentic falafel, hummus, tabouli, salads, etc.  Why wait for the falafel stand on Sundays?
  • Non-Food – Open a store which sells specialty soaps, creams and other affordable spa goods.  Beyond the brand-name  items, local soap maker  Montclair Soaps and other regional suppliers would be prominently featured here.

2.  Former Knitting Basket shop

  • Food – Stock an old-fashioned store filled with specialty nuts, designer popcorn, spices, penny (dollar) candy, honey and syrup, etc.  We should have something besides chocolate in town.
  • Non-Food – Create a regional gift shop with items similar to what’s sold at Chabot Space & Science, the Oakland Zoo, East Bay Parks, etc.  This shop would have a green vibe, with all kinds of eco-friendly items too.

3.  Place next to A Great Good Place for Books

  • Food – Open a small  grill which sells Chicago-style hot dogs and Italian-style beefs.  This place would be unique in the area, and perhaps attract some non-Montclarions as well.
  • Non-Food – Ride the scrapbooking wave, with a shop/studio where you could draw, paint, decoupage, work on books, etc.  There’s already a mosaic shop in the village, which seems more arcane than this hobby.

4.  Old Argento Jewelry location

  • Food – Fill the Greek food gap by selling lamb, gyros, moussaka, pastichio and some great desserts.  The place could have a few tables but be supported by takeout, somewhat like the Flavors of India nearby.
  • Non-Food – Open a small store where everyone gets their electronics and phones fixed, with an on-site geek who really knows his/her stuff.  Batteries and other key supplies could be sold here too, for when things fail on us.

To burst the fantasy, these open storefronts may be with us a bit longer than anyone would like.  There must be retailers who seek out a nice, thriving village.  We would even patronize (gasp) chain outlets beyond these fantasy picks.