Recently there was a letter complaining about how the Hoffmann family, the new owners of downtown Avon, were putting in a theater in Chapel Square. The author of the letter thought this was a very poor idea. As a local I agree with the conclusion of the letter that a theater in Chapel Square is ridiculous. But I have larger concerns with the new owners of the heart and soul of our downtown.
The actions (not the words) of the Hoffmann family indicate their unstoppable desire to force Avon to become the next Beaver Creek or Vail. They have the money and nobody can stop them from doing what they please. As a local, ask yourself this question: Would you like to see Transition Sports become Gorsuch? Who buys used sports equipment? Maybe you would prefer to see Loaded Joe’s become another upscale wine bar? A copy and printing store is so low-brow. Maybe another high-end furniture store would be better? I mean, who would want “those people” who go to such “local” type places as customers? If Beaver Creek or Vail doesn’t have such a store, then Avon shouldn’t either. It makes the area look trashy.
The fact of the matter is “those people” are us! The locals! We like stores that are owned and operated by our friends and neighbors. We want services that these businesses provide — not more tourist-based stores. There is no need to create another Beaver Creek because it already exists two miles away! It seems the bigger fight is to keep Avon as the one place upvalley that serves locals and not exclusively tourists. The Hoffmann family needs to decide if they are going to keep Radio Shack, or force upon us Radio Chic!
They can give us as much lip service as they want. They can buy as many statues, paint as many buildings, install as many flags as their unlimited Chicago money can get. I hope they realize flags and statues make shopping malls, but businesses that locals need, want and desire make a strong, vibrant community. The shops in Avon need locals to survive. Again, how many tourist shops does Avon need? This wouldn’t be an issue if they purchased one building. But the Hoffmanns own the entire downtown of Avon. This matters!
My fear is that the Hoffmans don’t care. They don’t want locals as tenants. They don’t want shops that locals depend upon. They have a vision to finally upscale poor little backwards, backwoods, backwater Avon and save the great unwashed class of locals from themselves. The result of such thinking could be disastrous for the scores of locals who currently own or need these businesses.
Shack or chic?