What shops does Galesburg need in the city center?

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What kind of retail stores, restaurants and bars would you like to see in downtown Galesburg?

Arcade bar with retro games works in Phoenix

When looking at popular little city centers, many known as landmarks have a catch – close to the ocean, mountains, ski resorts, etc. Well we didn’t, but we have already served a pretty good looking city center from some good restaurants, drinks and entertainment. So support local businesses and retailers first and foremost. We have a very nice bookstore, a great music shop, curio shops and the wonderful Orpheum Theater. I would support anything that has a small meal, a drink, and live music.

I was sad that Fat Fish was closed. There was great music there and the Knox College Jazz Ensemble played in the evenings. What we don’t need are more slot machines. The smartest idea I saw was in downtown Phoenix. It was an arcade bar with classic video games: Asteroids, Centipede, Pac-Man, Space Invaders, etc. All the original machines and still 25 cents. It was a hit with the young and old alike – retro-cool. This was where the latest “hipster” beers reigned (a trend that would fit the local myth if you don’t like local microbrewing). I would add that downtown Galesburg needs to apply better. I know Seminary Street is applying separately. It would be nice if the entire downtown area could come together to create a cohesive, promoted experience. —Stephen Podwojski

More choice of restaurants would be good

Of course, I’d rather see new businesses in Knoxville, but the idea is the same; new shops in the neighborhood.

I’m from the Chicago area. What I miss most is the variety of restaurants. Philippine, Soul, Thai and some other real ethnic establishments would be a good place to start. There is now a Portillo’s in Peoria, but closer would be better. A wider range of price / formality would also serve.

COVID helped accelerate the decline in retail stores in favor of online business, but I liked the personal touch of getting face-to-face advice from a knowledgeable person at a store.

I haven’t visited a bar in years and I don’t really like it either. There is enough space for parcel goods, but they need a wider range of products. I don’t like light beers, but I like heavy, dark, strong, real beers like Czech or German. – Charlie Gruner

More: What are the new owners of the former Dollar General building in Galesburg planning?

More niche stores like Seminary Street

The types of shops that are welcome downtown add to the uniqueness of our community. One idea that comes to mind is the concept of a market village that gives startups or small businesses the opportunity to showcase their products. Consumers will support stores and businesses that offer products and services not normally found in large physical stores. Niche businesses like the one on Seminary Street are an integral part of Galesburg’s identity.

There must be partnerships with local business leaders and developers to create incentives for entrepreneurs to invest in our inner city. People in this community want local businesses they can visit for services and entertainment instead of having to travel to the Quad Cities or Peoria. What has been proposed for the former Dollar Tree building and the new home of the Galesburg Civic Art Center looks promising. Whatever projects ultimately develop must be inclusive and have the ability to attract a wide variety of consumers. – John Hunigan

Use outdoors, run, deliver more to eat

One of the best things about living in a small town is that everyone is close by. As it is only 10 minutes from one end of the city to the other, we can shop and eat conveniently anywhere. For me, “inner city” means everywhere.

We are fortunate to have so many great restaurants. Korean, Japanese, Mexican, Chinese, pizza, steak, quiche, and craft beer are all easily available. Instead of thinking of additional places, I want to find a way to enjoy all of these delicious options.

Just before the pandemic changed everyone’s dining experience, a food delivery service was launched. Unfortunately the idea was ahead of its time, but perhaps such a company could now provide the service it needed.

Al fresco dining, delivery, delivery, and restaurant dining when available are great ways to enjoy the variety of restaurants we have. – Harry Bulkeley

More places for children; bring back Kiddieland

I didn’t say much last week because I believe Galesburg is going in the right direction and is slowly building up. However, we need more variety. We need more things for our children, such as Monkey Joes and Andrettis for all ages. Top Golf would be great for young adults and the elderly as drinks are served there. We also need more places like the Beanhive; Maria, I miss your place! I loved the Orpheum’s speak easy events and we should be doing it regularly. We have some great local restaurants and could use more. We also need more chain restaurants so we can stop giving our money to Peoria and the Quad Cities. Cracker Barrel, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Pappadaux, Cheesecake Factory, Chuck E Cheese, Benihana, Chick-Fil-A, etc. The driveway needs to be bought up and renewed, bring back Kiddieland and with a large Ferris wheel dedicated to George Ferris. – Courtney Wallace

More local independent restaurants

Although retail chains offer a few jobs each, their profits leave Galesburg and flow into their corporate headquarters. Small local businesses should get the most help the city can give and these are the types I would like to open up here. Even if I have the occasional meal at a Panera or Olive Garden, neither would do much for the Galesburg tax base. Again, I’d love to see independent restaurants serving dishes from the Middle East / North Africa, East Asia, Southeast Asia or West Africa. And because one option for people who emigrate voluntarily or because their lives have been ruined is to cook the foods they know to feed themselves in their new country; Hope to have Afghan food someday. As for bars, I’m only interested in them if they serve good food and don’t smell bad, otherwise I don’t have a strong opinion on bars. – Laurie Müller

A top-class ice cream parlor among the possibilities

The best guide to what type of business is successful in a particular location is what is successful there now. At the moment these seem to be bars / restaurants aimed at young people. People my age end up at chain restaurants in North Henderson or North Seminary.

So I asked a couple who eat out a lot. They discovered that the town has not had a top-notch ice cream parlor since Lim closed. There is also no wine bar to match Market Alley in Monmouth or Hidden Valley in Knoxville. Convenient parking seems particularly important for customers who want to drop by after an event.

Small clothing and shoe stores are closed, so there may be an opportunity. Bookstores have become rare, but with the improvement of library services and making online purchases easier, readers are also more likely to pick up a book before buying it. Staples are missing. – William Urban

The Community Roundtable takes place every Friday and consists of local authors. Community authors answer a question with a maximum of 150 words each week.


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