Pelham residents talk about businesses they wish would take over empty storefronts

With change in the air at the start of the spring season, members of the Pelham community passing by the town’s commercial strips see many empty storefronts available for rent, including the former location of the Double Rainbow ice cream store downtown and No. 1 Chinese Restaurant at Four Corners. Residents talked about the kinds of businesses they feel the town is missing.

‘We’ve got to keep the local business community strong’

“Businesses coming into the empty downtown storefronts ought to serve the community and compliment existing shops,” said Lindsay Martin, a Pelham resident. “I sure hope they aren’t chain stores because we’ve got to keep the local business community strong. It would be great if there were more destinations to drive foot traffic. I’d love to see a live music coffee shop—or a bookstore with beer and music on Fridays. How about a nonprofit vintage clothing store that’s run by students to benefit the Pelham Education Foundation? We keep donating our ripped 90s concert t-shirts and tattered mom jeans—but then my kid goes into Brooklyn and buys the same stuff we’re throwing away! Let’s keep that virtuous circle local in Pelham.”

‘Pelham has a lot of really great shops, but they are not easily accessible and really spread out’

“Pelham has a lot of really great shops, but they are not easily accessible and really spread out. More parking would enhance what we have. Businesses are not right by the train station, and there are a lot of great things, but they’re spread out,” said a Pelham resident who wished to remain anonymous. “Hiring local kids is a huge draw. It brings families and people like local shop-owners there. I also really miss Modell’s. I would be happy to pay extra to not have to drive out of town. A good sneaker and sporting goods store… many kids play sports in Pelham, and they need mouth guards, shin guards, and sneakers. I would love a really good salad and sandwich place with a bigger menu, too.”

‘A wine bar or a microbrewery’

“First, as someone who enjoys dining out, new restaurants are a great addition. Especially new ones, like a French bistro or a farm-to-table shop or a ramen shop. Another is a wine bar or a microbrewery. I think those would be a great addition because they would be great for get-togethers or events,” said Pelham Manor resident Christine Wanuga.  “The other (option) was a bookstore with a cafe… it would be a great place to gather and socialize, and for teenagers to work. I also thought about was a clothing boutique. We used to have one years ago, but one maybe that carries unique or locally made items. We have a lot of wonderful bakeries in town, but we don’t have a bread bakery … like one that specializes in great baked bread. I would definitely rather stay in Pelham and pay more than to drive out of town. What would be nice is more of these gathering places… that encourage people to gather and socialize.”

“I hope that in Four Corners, something comes to the old Chinese restaurant. I would like to see more businesses come to Four Corners and replace the storefronts that are vacant,” Wanuga said. “There’s always been a lot of debate in Pelham on how to make our town more vibrant. The addition of any new business would be great. I think we just have to have new businesses that attract people not only from Pelham but from other towns. Things that are unique and different.”

What new shops do you want to see in the downtown or at Four Corners? Add your suggestions in the comments.