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Saratogian Letter

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006 · 5 Comments

In the second A_nderson media appearance this month, the Saratogian today published my letter to the editor about the proposed High Rock Redevelopment, which was inspired by my attendance at the public hearing held a couple weeks ago by the High Rock Redevelopment Committee.

High Rock lot should hold theater, new grocery store

Tags: saratoga springs

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Bill Rempe // Feb 22, 2006 at 10:11 am

    As a avid readers of and as prior full time and still summer time residents of Saratoga Springs, we must tell you how much we enjoy your daily postings.

    To the matter of High Rock, we couldn’t agree more. Having spent all of or part of every year since 1978 in the Spa City, we have seen many changes and while some have been in keeping with the history and romance of Saratoga, some have not. Your suggested additions for the High Rock redevelopment are spot on and we too hope the Spa citizens will encourage the leadership to consider the bigger picture as selections are made for new neighbors in that area.

    Bill & Connie Rempe
    Sarasota, Florida

  • 2 Milhouse // Feb 22, 2006 at 11:10 am

    No offense Gabe, but Trader Joe’s IS found in strip malls all throughout the country. That’s where you find them. They attract tons of cars, mostly SUVs and they take business away from places like Putnam Market.

    I love Trader Joe’s but I think it’s bad for downtown Saratoga. Ditto Whole Foods. Put them in Clifton Park, which frankly would be better for their business model too. More SUVs there. Nothing against SUVs (I drive one and fit right into the Trader Joe’s target market), but if what we’re after is a unique experience in downtown then that’s not the market we want.

    The new High Rock development is decent space for a chain like Trader Joe’s, Starbucks, Eddie Bauer and the like. Nothing we can do about that, because that’s where the money is. Frankly if the chains are what bring people (and their money) to town, we probably shouldn’t discourage it too much. We don’t want an Applebee’s in downtown, but I don’t see the harm in Starbucks, Eddie Bauer, etc. They’re there because the market is there, and they bring people to the city to spend their money, not only there but in the small shops as well.

    Do I wish the town were filled with thriving independently owned stores that sold exactly what my tastes dictate? Absolutely. But that’s not realistic. Business is business and our market-based economy is here to stay.

    What we can do is encourage places that are trying to establish themselves as independent and charming places to do business. The best example we have of that in town is the Beekman Street Arts District. Calling it an Arts District is pretty ambitious since it’s less than two blocks long, but it’s an area that’s really trying to do something different from the rest of town.

    There’s a great little coffee house called Gotchya’s, with good pub food, great coffee and a decent beer selection. They have live music on the weekends, but early (I think they close by 9). There’s a bistro with some really good (albeit a bit pricey) food. And there are quite a few little boutiques/galleries/etc. It’s a great place to go and feel like you’re buying from someone who’s a part of the community, rather than a corporation. Many times you’re buying from the artists themselves.

    I’m looking forward to reading of your Beekman Street adventures sometime soon.


  • 3 Gabe A_nderson // Feb 22, 2006 at 11:15 am

    Thanks for the kind words of support, Bill & Connie!

    Milhouse- Good points. It is a market-driven economy, that’s for sure, and although Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are certainly chain stores, I would disagree that you can find them in any strip mall in America. When was the last time you went to a store like them around here? I definitely would not want to see Putnam’s business suffer, but I can’t exactly do my grocery shopping downtown. I have to go to Hannaford by the mall for good grocery.

    And yeah, I love Gotchya’s; I go there often.

  • 4 Christine // Feb 23, 2006 at 11:18 pm

    I moved here from New Jersey about 1 1/2 years ago, where I lived for about 7 years. I’m originally from this area and consider myself “home” now. My husband and I are now here to raise a family. This conversation about what should go in downtown Saratoga is of definite interest to me.

    I think the idea of a Spectrum-like theater is excellent. However, the movies presented weekly by the Saratoga Film forum at the Arts Council building are often the same movies playing at the Spectrum in Albany. Couldn’t the Saratoga Film Forum morph somehow into its own theater space behind the City Center and City Hall?

    Also, what about the idea of a playhouse? I truly miss the grand shows at the Papermill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ, and went regularly to their Broadway-like productions. The Homeade Theater in the State Park probably has wonderful productions; however, I don’t know anything about them because I am the mom of two kids under 3 and am momentarily unable to get away easily to take in a show.

    I, too, would enjoy having a Whole Foods or Trader’s Joes nearby. It would be nice to have so much access to organic, natural foods. I think a Trader’s Joes would be a better fit in this area since their food is much more reasonably priced than Whole Foods, at least in my opinion.

    All in all, I hope something unique and unusual goes into the empty parking lot. I would expect nothing less from the people of Saratoga. It would be another small send-up of human innovativeness and spirit in the face of overwhelming big business blahness. Every time I take my kids for a stroll at the downtown Farmer’s Market or for a ride on the much-cherished Carousel or to the Children’s Museum or to the amazing children’s department at the library, etc., etc., I think, how lucky my kids get to grow up in such a vital environment. I hope it stays that way.

  • 5 Christine // Mar 11, 2006 at 10:21 pm

    I don’t know if you saw that there was a survey printed in the Saratogian one or two days ago asking for input about issues pertaining to Saratoga’s growth, such as what businesses one would like to see brought to Saratoga. There is also a website to take the survey at

    I’m only bringing this up because it seems like something you’d be interested in considering the letter you wrote to the Saratogian about Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s/an independent film theater. I also figured other people who might have missed the survey in the paper would see the mention on your blog and check out the website. As a local resident, I’m also interested in how Saratoga grows, so I’ll do the survey.