Jan
31

Cold Krispy Kreme Closes

On Friday, on the cusp of Raleigh’s biggest tourism weekend in history, the Krispy Kreme location at City Plaza closed. The site, which only sold room temperature, unfresh doughnuts, was reported to stay open thru the All-Star weekend. However when the biggest fans of flat round things were swarming, KK folded, passing up one last opportunity to make money in a city-subsidized facility. The Peace/Person location will remain open.

Like we couldn’t see this one coming from a mile away. The appeal of Krispy Kreme lies in their hot, fresh product. The greasy, room temperature product has never been appealing, and was set for failure in City Plaza from the getgo. Had the chain focused on delivering hot, glazed doughnuts instead of variety at that site, there was ample opportunity for success. I still adamantly feel that a small, Hot Doughnuts Now stand in the RBC Center would be a booming success.

So what is next for this site? Success in City Plaza will not come from sales during special events. There aren’t many of these kinds of events and the plaza is not interesting enough to be the hangout the city was hoping it would be. It is the business that can attract a steady stream of customers from lunch thru the afternoon that will make it. For sure, the easiest slam dunk is a good, basic, hamburger or taco stand. This facility is essentially a food truck, so the aim should be to serve quick food that is good. Only Burger or Char-Grill would do well in this site because good burgers sell; period. Another idea is a taco stand featuring good ingredients. Chubbys and Los Cuates could handle the job. Food from Fonda Y Birrieria Jalisco would be even better (just get a better name!). The beauty of a taco stand is that it would attract tons of traffic during non-peak hours. There are many like me who could eat a good taco appetizer at any hour of the day.

Raleigh now sits in a position similar, but on a smaller scale, to Atlanta’s once the Olympics was over. The long-awaited event has passed, and it is time for the City to get back to making Fayetteville Street a “sustainable” destination for residents on every day of the year. There still is important work to be done.

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  • ct Said:

    I lived in Atlanta for 13 years. Truth is, despite all the pro-downtown boosterism there — including the construction of a billion-dollar subway system — downtown Atlanta has captured perhaps 5% of the total job growth in the region since 1980.

    As to making downtown Raleigh sustainable, I expect the question of whether to continue making that a central point of the city’s agenda will be debated during the upcoming mayoral election. We’ll just have to see whether a pro-downtown policy continues. Given the political climate overall, I have my doubts that it will.

  • Subway Scoundrel Said:

    I tried to go there every Saturday but I am sure having a Starbucks in the hotel next to it did not help. I think a Snoopys or Char Grill would go over well but not sure they have the vent systems for it. Maybe. Char Grill would stink up DT but might be Ok.

  • JeffS Said:

    ct, that depends very much on what you consider “pro downtown”.

    I consider recent policies to be more pro-tourism than pro-downtown. Our agendas are based around unplanned growth and trying to buy tourist dollars. I am not sure that serving existing residents even appears on the list.

    I think you would be hard pressed to find someone who was truly surprised at the failure of this, and other businesses in the area. We have disrupted organic and natural growth in the area and replaced it with something contrived. To make matters worse, you steal events from places like Moore Square so you can turn it into a forced and artificial place as well.

    I don’t know what I expect though. The majority of Raleigh would probably be content with another lane and two more Starbucks on their 45 minute commute.

  • ct Said:

    Yes, the majority of Raleigh would be content with exactly that. They moved here on that basis. For everyone who moved here wanting a vibrant downtown scene, there are 10 who moved here knowing full-well that Raleigh’s downtown is marginal. They came anyway, so don’t expect them to put downtown at the top of their agendas.

    The Convention Center is definitely aimed at tourism, but I don’t believe that was the basis — not the only basis, at least — for Fayetteville Street or Hillsborough Street.

  • Dana Said:

    I just got some records transferred from a practice called “Urban Oasis Dental”. It’s in Cary. (bwahhahaha!!)

  • orulz Said:

    ct, I think the vast majority of Raleighites are not as hostile towards downtown as you suggest. Maybe back in the 80s and 90s (before I moved here) the general attitude was that downtown could go itself, and that any public dollar spent downtown was essentially a dollar down the toilet. From the late 70s when the Fayetteville Street Mall was built, through about 1999 when Glenwood South was spruced up, very little public money was spent on downtown to do anything except speed traffic through it more quickly.

    These days there’s a growing sentiment among most Americans that downtowns are important, and specifically among Raleigh residents (excluding those who comment on wral.com) that we want downtown to be better. This is evidenced in part by the continuing re-election of Meeker as mayor. Clearly, downtown is his top priority. Though I agree that downtown certainly isn’t everybody’s top priority, you can’t vote for Meeker and at the same time be opposed to tax money (and lots of it) being spent downtown. He’s focused on downtown, yes, but he must be keeping everybody else happy enough if he keeps getting re-elected.

  • Dana Said:

    Good points, Orulz. The only point I wonder about is Meeker’s reelection. I can’t remember a decent opponent to him in the election. That said, while I am not for big government, especially at the federal level, I hope we never even come close to the downtown thoughts that defined the Coble era.

  • ChiefJoJo Said:

    By the way, the City Plaza retail sites are not “subsidized.” The owner of the property (I think it is one of the adjacent tower owners, maybe BofA building) built the retail pavilions and is fully financially responsible for leasing them. The city paid for and built the plaza itself for use as a public gathering space.

    Around 50 new businesses, most of them locally owned, opened downtown in 2010 in the midst of a poor economy. Yes, some others closed, but I bet the retail business absorption rate beat every other part of the city (which of course gets little to zero attention). For that matter, Progress-Duke merger (or potential Red Hat relocation) notwithstanding, the downtown office market’s vacancy rate is easily the lowest of all the sub-markets in the region. From what I’ve heard, the Convention Center continues to do brisk business, despite a lack of new hotel rooms.

    I’d say downtown is a smart investment.

  • Dana Said:

    Jojo,
    The owner of the actual structure may or may not be the city, however it sits atop city parking (a deck), its dining room is a city project, and that space is maintained by the city. This is not the same as some business erecting a business on private property along a city-maintained corridor. The structure and its supporting space were entirely a contrived city project. So while that may not be a direct subsidy, it effectively is still a very large subsidy compared to what other comparable businesses get (like Starbucks and Ben & Jerry’s in North Hills).
    I didn’t mean to imply anything bad about downtown investment, BTW. I was only attacking the absurd notion of a cold donut store.

  • ChiefJoJo Said:

    Dana,

    I understand, and I only elaborated on the state of downtown because others in the thread were taking pot shots, not you. I will say that the pavilions are no more an indirect subsidy than, say, Triangle Town Center, or pretty much any development was indirectly subsidized by the public funding of 540… just in a different form.

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