Monday, January 08, 2007

32nd Avenue boom

The Herald has an article in Monday's paper about all of the developments taking place along 32nd Avenue in south Grand Forks.

In ways, the story is a little like those WDAZ stories that seem to rehash the same developments over and over again without ever mentioning anything that most people don't already know about (how many times can Texas Roadhouse be a news story?). Still, I always love reading development-related news in the paper.

So, since Ashley Furniture and the Golden Corral really aren't breaking news anymore, I'm left wondering what else might be coming to the 32nd corridor in the coming year. Anybody heard anything? What about this Denny's? Maybe the Herald can get more out of the district manager than I could. How about Home Depot? I have heard serious talk in the past that it was considering a new Grand Forks location on 32nd Avenue.

I have to say that I'm excited to see the ongoing boom of shopping and dining opportunities in the community. Pretty soon, none of us will have to go to Fargo for anything, right? I'm thinking that, over time, more choices in Grand Forks will also lessen any leakage of Canadian shoppers to our neighbor to the south. Why drive 70 more miles when you can find almost all the same stores and restaurants in Grand Forks?

23 comments:

JGS said...

There is still a huge open lot next to Ashley furniture waiting to be developed, same with west of Golden Corral.

dale said...

I'd say that the chances of Home Depot coming here are about zero. Between Menards and Lowe's, I think that it's pretty well covered. There's only so much of a market here, and I think a third "super centre" would be overkill and Home Depot wouldn't invest money in a saturated market. But who knows?

Restaurant wise, realistic new ones (based on them being in the general area, just not here,) would be Famous Dave's, Cracker Barrel and Johnny Carino's Italian (though Olive Garden would do in a pinch... it's likely sacriledge not to mention them in a restaurant posting :-)

Toss in a Bob Evans and Panera Bread, and I'll even stop whining about the lack of Waffle Houses in the area :-)

That said, there isn't exactly space for a bazillion new restaurants. As JGS points out, there's a bit of room next to the Golden Corral on 32nd proper, there's space between Arbys and Village Inn and maybe you could sandwich something in next to Pizza Hut (pun intended). Beyond that, it's either go east of Lithium Ford or get off the strip and start going south on Columbia. Which, based on city growth, is probably a good idea.

vcsuvike said...

I would think Home Depot would be a great addition. They could possibly anchor new development south of 32nd. I don't think the market is saturated yet between the Lowe's and Menards.
As for restaurants, Johnny Carino's and Famous Dave's would be awesome. Hopefully more developments happen south on Columbia and 38th Street would encourage a new Interstate exchange.

Charlie said...

Famous Dave's. When the Fargo location opened, the manager shared with me that Grand Forks was also being considered and not to be surprised if it happened soon. Well...that was a couple of years back...but...

GFG...doggone...the article in The Herald was just as you predicted! Are you sure you and Tuey aren't roommates? :o)

Happy New Year to everyone, btw...

Casey said...

dale- I have to disagree with you. Have you seen how close Home Depot and Menards are in Bismarck? The Lowe's is just down Century, but it's still on the north side. Although Home Depot seems to be making some unwise business decisions lately. Who knows what they'll do now that their CEO is gone.

Anonymous said...

So, does anyone have a decent map of the area that shows what it going where? I only get up to GF rarely and the last time I was up at Christmas, I didn't really get out to the 32nd Ave area to check out what is what. Definitely would like to know where any new restaurants would be for when I'm back up at the 4th of July...

GJB

JGS said...

Anon,

I was about to make a map of 32nd Avenue and every detailed business along it. I spose to could make a post on MGF about it. :P

Anonymous said...

I only wish a Cracker Barrel and a Waffle House would come here. When we go back home we always map out when we will eat at our favorite restaurants. For Italian, I like Macaroni Grill. I had a good laugh reading the article in the paper about Golden Corral and how they make everything from scratch. If opening up a box, warming it up, and calling it from scratch works for them....then okay. I'll try that tonight and see if it works here!

JGS said...

I completed a map of 32nd Avenue south on My Grand Forks. :)

DrJ said...

I agree, anon, Golden Corral calling their food made "from scratch" is laughable. They do have some totally AWESOME yeast rolls however. Those things are so good, they're like crack for carbaholics. It'll be good to have a "trough" in GF, if only to reduce the wait times at other restaurants! The breakfast buffet will be a big plus...filling a void in the breakfast market here....but Waffle house?? Ugh! We need some good diner food! How about a Silver Diner?? Now THAT would be progress!

GrandForksGuy said...

As far as Home Depot, I don't think that the market is too small to support one. Bismarck has Menard's, Lowes, and Home Depot, so why can't we? If plans pan out in Fargo/Moorhead, that metro area would have one Lowes, two Home Depots, and three Menards. In other words, if these cities can support all three chains in their communities, why can't Grand Forks? Home Depot will require a large tract of land, so that would be one of the trickiest things for them to figure out before coming to GF. Two locations that I have heard mentioned are directly west of Tractor Supply Co. on 32nd Avenue (west of I-29) and east of Sam's Club on 32nd.

Anonymous said...

drj-I forgot all about those rolls. They are yummy with honey butter. Think they'll have okra, catfish, and sweet tea here? I've never heard of the Silver Diner. I'm from the other side of the Mason-Dixon(originally) and Waffle House is the best for a quick bite to it.

I have one question that I've been too afraid to ask anyone, what in the world does uffda mean? Sorry to get off topic, I'm just curious about that. There are things here that are so different from back home that I could keep a thread going for WEEKS with all my questions and comments, amd I've lived here for a few years.

I have to post anonymously because I have no idea how to get a google username and I'd rather get strung up than ask my 16 year old son for help!:)

GrandForksGuy said...

Anonymous, "uffda" is one of those things that is so much "a part" of some of us that it is almost difficult to explain...at least for me. It can really take on many different meanings depending on the situation. For a decent overview, I would suggest you check out the Wikipedia article. For me, "uffda" can mean "Oh no!", "That's too bad", "That hurt!", "What an idiot!", "I'm tired", "Scary!"...it just goes on and on...

Regarding the criticism of Golden Corral calling their cooking "made-from-scratch"...I've never had a chance to visit a Golden Corral, but from what I have heard, I'm looking forward to it opening up. It may not be true "home cooking", but I've heard that it is a cut above most buffets. Anybody heard how they're going to price their buffet? I've heard it is usually about $7-$9...pretty good value, really.

Anonymous said...

gfg-I think the buffet is 8.99, or it was the last time I was at one.
They do have great food that is so much better than the buffets that are here. If you have every been to a Ryans it is just like them. I am actually looking forward to going there, used to eat there too much when no one could agree on one the same place to eat. The nice thing is the selection and you don't have to wait for anything.

ben said...

It seems to me like there is going to be a whole lot of development south from the current GF Marketplace. Furtniture Row is going down there, and there seems to be a large development as far as roads and land going down there. I am sure that the Furniture Row will draw more businesses and such southward. And there is LOTS of land down there...

Anonymous said...

If we continue to build and support these massive chain-owned restaurants, we will be standing around in 5-10 years wondering where the small businesses have gone. The Darcy's, Emerald Grill's, Del's, Season's, and smaller businesses will flounder in a tightening market that is marked by increased costs in food and wages. The taste of Grand Forks will be lost in a flood of restaurants that everyone else has. Want a good breakfast...try the Emerald Grill...or Darcy's. Some of the best breakfast in town. And it's affordable.

Anon...

ben said...

I agree with that...you can't find a better breakfast than the Emerald or Darcy's...also try the truck stops - yummy!
And while this is true, the dinners aren't going to be eaten there. I don't think most of the chain restaurants are even open for breakfast (except for Golden Corral the way it sounds), so most of those places need not worry too much.

GrandForksGuy said...

Anonymous, I agree with you that we should try to support our local businesses when possible. However, I've always felt that this sentiment shouldn't give local businesses a sense of entitlement that local residents should support them no matter what their service, atmosphere, food, or prices are like. Some local businesses never seem to get that, in my opinion. I, like most people, will spend my dining out money at a restaurant that offers me a great meal in a nice atmosphere at a great price. I'm not as concerned about who owns the restaurant as I am about those things.

Another thing, it seems to me like most local restaurants succeed when they price themselves below franchised competitors, but don't do so good when their prices are comparable. Take the Emerald Grill for example. Back in the day when it was the Tomahawk (before the flood), the place was packed every night with truckers, students, base people...you name it...it was really busy. That's when their prices were very good and were less than other restaurants that served similar food. I have to think that what they lost by having lower prices than the chains, they almost certainly made up for in volume. Then, they changed the name of the place and the format. Also, there have been a string of new owners in the past decade. Prices went up and are now comparable to the chains. Guess what else changed? The level of business. Whenever I've been in there in recent years, the place is very quiet...nothing like what it was ten or fifteen years ago. I think other local establishments could learn some lessons from that change. It might not be fair, but sometimes local restaurants have to try just a little bit harder than national chains if they want to be successful.

GrandForksGuy said...

Ben said "It seems to me like there is going to be a whole lot of development south from the current GF Marketplace."

I would think the same, Ben. However, if you look at the zoning map for 2035 (or whatever year it is), there doesn't appear to be any large commercial developments planned for the area south of Lowes. Actually, this is something that concerns me. The land use plan contains very few areas designated for commercial developments. Commerical corridors are supposedly "a thing of the past" and any new businesses will go in "nodes" near major intersections. This sounds ok in some ways, but the nodes designated in the plan are very small and have little to no room for any large scale developments. If Grand Forks doesn't have ample room for new businesses to come in, we are going to suffer greatly in the long run. We need large tracts of available land for businesses that want to set up shop in the city.

BTW, has anyone else really figured out what direction Furniture Row will face? It looks to me like it will face the Interstate, but that would make it really hidden from the rest of the city. It's already going to be hidden by being behind Lowe's. This development confuses me a bit.

ben said...

It confuses me, too. I would think that they are going to extend 40th Avenue South straight over to the development, but this will definently be hidden behind Lowes, unless there is another large scale business or two going back there, I fear that area may lack traffic that is needed to make a place like Furniture Row succeed.

Anonymous said...

Pricing...

Is it fair to criticize the pricing of the smaller establishments? Yes, prices were less 10-15 years ago. But so was gas. Now gas is double, sometimes triple, what it was in the '90s. With developments such as that, it is only a matter of time before prices had to go up.

Take the Emerald Grill, for example. There prices are comparable, if not less, than their nearest competitor, Perkins.
Chicken Strip Sandwiches...Perkins cost $9, the Emerald's is under $8. How is that not vastly cheaper? In today's market, with food costs rising due to the food providers (US Food, FSA, Sysco) having to raise their prices to stay profitable, it is not overly fair to criticize a business for having to pass on the costs of some of their price increases to the customer.

With that being said, I remember when the Emerald Grill wasn't charging for tomatoes when they went through the roof. Fast-food places were, other restaurants weren't including them unless requested, but the Grill kept serving them with all the plates that got them. Burgers came with tomatoes...

Also, if cost were an issue, why aren't Monday's and Tuesday's busier at the Grill. 2-for-1 Burgers on Monday and Turkey Dinners on Tuesday are FANTASTIC deals.

Prices had to rise eventually...you can't expect the locals to be substantially lower than the chains. In fact, with the margins that chains run, they should be running their food cheaper. With the mass deals they get on their food because of buying groups, I can't imagine why they couldn't.

It's all a matter of opinion, I suppose...give the locals a try...

Anon...

GrandForksGuy said...

Maybe I'm just cheap, but ultimately I think both local places and chains really overprice their food these days. A family of four is going to spend at least $40-$50 dollars for a meal at a sit-down restaurant these days. Plenty of people can't afford that.

Anonymous said...

Also...people seem to scrutinize local joints pricing more than chains, then...drop 8 bucks on a Litehouse (RL theme drink).