Friday, June 17, 2011

SURPRISE! Old Kroger store will be newest flea market on Dixie

Note: As I have done here only one time before, I feel it is necessary to warn you of the foul mood the following story has put me in. I am liable to use a swear word or two. Proceed with caution. You have been warned. - Brian

Most of the hopes and dreams I had for my neighborhood died a terrible but quick death today, as I experienced with my own eyes what I think may be the final nail in the coffin that contained them.

When I started this site, it was my hope that residents of Valley Station would organize into a single voice to advocate for sustainable progress that made sense. Everyone I talked to had the same hopes for retail, housing and jobs. We may sometimes agree on little else, but we could all say we put our neighborhood first.

But with time, as all other things, the landscape has changed- both economically and politically.

Perhaps our plans were too grand. Maybe we had too narrow a focus. And maybe we misjudged our neighbors. Suppose they don't want the same thing. Suppose they like what we have here and are thrilled with things just as they are?

In January, Business First featured an article about the new owners of the Dixie Valley Shopping Center at 10445 Dixie Highway. The anchor tenant is the Valley Station Wal-Mart.

The shopping center was purchased in foreclosure by a Denver company for $3.3 million dollars.

In a news release, Baceline Investments, LLC said they would undertake an "aggressive revitalization plan for Dixie Valley designed to attract top tenants intended to build on the momentum created by the Wal-Mart renovation."

There were many rumors about what type of tenants might be interested, and the speculation grew as residents began to see improvements made to the center's exterior.

In March, during my meeting with David Yates (D-25), the councilman said he and his staff were excited about the possibilities for the center and pledged to do whatever they could, to the extent possible, to help bring some sought-after merchants to the struggling development.

So it is with a heavy heart I report to you that the former Kroger store in the Dixie Valley Center will now be occupied by another fucking Peddler's Mall flea market. This one is called "Vendor's Village".

What was that about "top tenants"?

I don't know how many of you reading this frequent these places but obviously they have enough business to be profitable and remain open. My personal opinion, as expressed here many times before, is that they are a cancer on the community - a pox upon our houses that keep out good retail development and keep SW Louisville as the punchline to some pretty bad redneck jokes. I am not alone in opposing these places but, evidently, we seem to be in the minority here.

There are now several of these businesses located on Dixie. One is located at the "front door" of Shively at the old Bacon's Department Store. Now this one is at the "front door" of SW Louisville.

I don't know what else to say except that I am immensely disappointed, and I don't know how much longer I can continue to advocate for better if that's not what the community wants. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the best we can have is check-cashing stores, used car lots, pawn shops and flea markets. But I remember a time, not too long ago, when we had nice things in SW Louisville.

It sure used to be different out here.


  1. I agree with your thoughts...just another trashy ass dump.never fails that the people of Valley Station will not stand up...never could figure that out...stand up and complain about everybody that hears of Valley station is a bad area.well its really starting to seem that way.dixie hwy has so many flea markets on it now..its a wonder it hasnt been renamed

  2. When I was a kid there stores all around Southwest Jefferson County. Just a moment's thought, and I came up with:

    Arlans, Penny's, Zayre, K-mart (two of them for a while), Bacons, Dimeco, Levy Brothers, Topps, Consolidated Sales Co
    Grants, Ayr Way, Woolco, Ben Snyders, Stewarts (or was it Shillitos?), Service Merchandise, and Roses. I know there's more.

    What happened?

  3. I'm having the same problems with Fern Creek. Nobody over here in South-East Louisville seems to want anything nice, either.

  4. I completely agree with you, every time I think we are going to get something nice we get this crap. We continue to be forced to drive across town and continue to look like a dump in this area. I grew up in the south end and I continue to defend this end of town but at this point it is getting harder and harder to do. Thanks for absolutely nothing!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. My personal opinion is that bringing another Peddlers Mall back to Valley will bring the retail & many jobs aspect back in full force. First, flea markets promote the reselling of used items which is awesome environmentally! It also gives many retirees or younger peoples the opportunity to open their own little mini shop there...gaining a signficant amount of experience in managing & retail. (At least I am hoping that is what happens!) It seems to me retired ones would embrace that oppertunity with open arms because of the full control & creativity that can be spent on the venture. Besides that,I can voucher that there are so many interested peoples in shopping at flea markets because I used to work at the other Peddlers Mall & we did have quite the crowd! It is unfortunate you feel so negatively about the decision, but it could be sooo much worse...What if was a fitness center? Or even worse..a government building? XD Hope I've at least given you a few good reasons the flea market can be a good thing.

  6. I'm sorry, Brian. This makes me sick.

  7. I'm sorry, too. I guess we could have done more.

    I'm not totally against these places for the same reasons "K33kat" so eloquently stated above. But I'm against having 20 of them in one area of town.

    SW Louisville is overserved by flea markets and underserved in everything else. There is nowhere to buy new furniture, a new suit or a new book out here. Nothing. The old Evans Furniture is...TADA..a flea market. The old Dillards is...TADA...a flea market. The old Pie Pantry is some type of flea market. The old steak house is a pawn shop. The old Kmart is a bingo. We got rid of the Salvation Army thrift store and replaced it with a fucking Dollar General that is three (3) miles away from ANOTHER Dollar General on Dixie, and three (3) miles from one in PRP on Terry Road. There are so many check cashing places you can literally go to one, cross the road, and go to another. For every new Qdoba and Waffle House there is at least four other things we don't need. There are new Family Dollar stores popping up all over the place. All selling the same junk. And there is an organization of business interests out here that think this development is fine and dandy.

    And one more thing: As far as the environment is concerned, what is the benefit to the environment if I have to take a 40 mile round trip in my car at $4 a gallon to buy something I should be able to buy in my own neighborhood?

    Either I'm missing something or people just don't give a rat's shit about any of this. But judging by the number of visitors and facebook "likes" this story has received, concerned residents need to get off their asses and onto their feet, out the door and into the streets if they want something different. Or sell the house and move to another part of town.

    I've done the first thing already, and I lost.

  8. I agree, Brian. While I understand the economics behind this (clearly there is a demand that ensures the profitability of these stores), I am extremely disappointed for all of us in SW Louisville.

    However, I can't help but think the people of SW Louisville bring much of this on themselves. Visiting these stores, continuing to elect the same group of failed leaders, and not having the high-expectations our friends in the east-end have.

    Individuals will continue to patronize these stores (while complaining about not having nice things), you and others will rally around our Democrats in SW Louisville next November, and neighbors will continue to anguish over the lack of improvement.

    My hope is a developer or two (surely they are out there) with a personal connection to SW Louisville will use his/her personal business connections and take a chance on improving our local community.

    Note: My lack of faith in our Democratic elected leaders doesn't mean I think ANY Republican or Independent would necessarily be better - I don't and am not that naive or indoctrinated to think such a simple answer exists. I just don't think we can continue to elect the SAME Democrats and expect a different result. How often do Rick, Bob, Dan, and company meet with the Economic Development office to work on new development? What business relationships do they have (and which ones have they leveraged) to bring new retail or job opportunities? Simply put, more of the same will not produce different results.

  9. Please direct me in how I can do a better job to change our area because what I have done so far has not mattered.......I have talked with several of our councilman only to be told a'we cannot stop businesses from starting in our area. I complained to several when the first Peddlers Mall went in at the Bacon's location, I was also told "what do you want Dixie Highway to look like another Hurstbourne Lane?" I said Yes it would be nice to have all of the options available and jobs that are along Hurstbourne Lane. Again I received no anwser. I complained to councilman about the SIN DEN that opened on Dixie since a strip club is last thing we need again and was told they are not operating when in fact they are as you can clearly see women standing outside the building that clearly work there and cars in the parking lot. I have complained and talked to councilman about the apartments at the end of lower hunters that houses sex offenders and owned and operated by a sex offender, as it sits not far from neigborhoods and Shacklett Elementary. I would love for our area to be an area people of good standing and hard working families want to live in but I am afraid to say that most of the time I am explaining why I would even want to live here. People assume there is nothing but rednecks, crime and poor people that live in the Southend. I know that is not true but we are so far behind the times so to speak compared to other parts of the county. As I stated earlier I grew up here and at one time as another person noted this end of town had a lot and was a very nice place to live. Then we started losing businesses in the 80's and still have not improved or turned things around. We have received some things in the last couple of years but not much that we did not already have. The few nice resturants that we have are packed most of the time so I just don't understand why more do not come to the area. Preston highway has even passed us by a mile. Again I would love to do more but not sure where to begin, I would love some direction.

  10. As a flea marketer may I weigh in here? My business is located at the Awesome Flea Market in Shepherdsville (I must say it is one of the nicer ones). The reason I set up there is because it is the only affordable way for me to operate my business. I live in Valley Station and recently moved back here from Florida. Although I agree the area has been in a downward trend for many years I still love the area and will continue to live here. I'm with you Brian that we need more upscale businesses in this area. But for the small business owners it is nearly impossible for us to get started. I'm almost sure you would put my business on the undesireable list (I sell biker apparel and accessories) but if you visited my booth you would see that I have a very respectable and professional business. I would love to lease the old fire station building on Valley Station Road for my business but again as bad as our area needs new establishments you still can't get any help from the SBA, banks or anyone else. Therefore, some of us flea marketers are forced to start here in the local flea markets. We are not low class citizens (I know you didn't say we were but clearly you don't want us here) we just need to have a place to get started. I agree there are too many in such close proximity but as long as it is kept up and does not look run down (such as the old Arlens does on 7th Street) at least it helps keep our town from looking deserted. Yes, I'd rather have seen Best Buy or a nice upscale restaurant there but that isn't what we got. So I say force them to keep it looking respectable and we can deal with it. But keep working for the betterment of our town Brian. Don't give up and if I can help you I'm here. Like Tonya said I'm not sure just how to help but would love to.

    Oh on one last note.....if the new Flea Market (which truly is a Peddlers Mall) fixes that parking lot hooray for them. That parking lot in itself has been a disgrace and a hazard for years.

  11. The flea market is only a tenant in the shopping center. All they do is pay rent. They do not pave the parking lot or maintain the facility.

    There are many spaces available for small, local retailers just starting out. Get a METCO loan and start a real business. Flea markets are not a way to start a business. Vendors' Village will make a ton off of you and your work, but all they do is rent the building, then jack up what up pay per-square-foot.

    To speak to the larger problem of "what we do" about all of this: Organize. Start a neighborhood group. Talk to your neighbors. Plan an economic boycott. Someone has to stand up and lead. This is not a political problem, so it will not be a politician or someone in city government. This has to be a grassroots, local and residential undertaking. But beware: Most people I've talked to love these places and wouldn't mind 30 or 40 more of them.

    Thanks to you all for writing.

  12. The prevalence of thrift shops and Peddler's Malls is a symptom of the economy. It's hard to attract new businesses and the owners likely figure that any tenant is better than an empty space. Personally, I like the Peddler's Mall- but I'd like a bookstore and some new restaurants, too. But don't be too hard on the Peddlers Mall phenomena; the people selling their wares there are likely your neighbors. Such businesses keep money in this end of town; in an economic environment such as this, I just can't see that as a bad thing.

  13. Brian, I understand you're angry but insinuating that I don't have a "real" business is NOT the answer. I, in fact, do have a "real" business. I pay sales tax, business taxes, annual business fees for being in business and have a Fed ID #. This, in the State of Kentucky and Jefferson County, makes me a "real" business.

    I'm sorry but you are wrong. I know of several businesses that started in flea markets and have grown into "REAL brick and motar" stores. All of which couldn't have been accomplished without the small investment it took to rent a booth rather than default because they couldn't pay rent in a building before they were able to financially do it. It is definitely a viable way to start a business.

    I'm not going to set up in the Vendor's Village. However, I know they do make money but would they make a ton off me? I seriously doubt it. Their commission percentage is actually quite reasonable. I can't imagine anyone staying there if they weren't operating in the positive.

    Also, if you notice the parking lot area in front of them has been marked out to have parking lot improvements. I understand they don't make the improvements themselves but they sure can make that part of the conditions for leasing the space.

    I will certainly look into acquiring a METCO loan and I thank you for the suggestion.

  14. "I know of several businesses that started in flea markets and have grown into "REAL brick and motar" stores."

    Name them.

  15. Hmm, and I thought David Yates was pushing for some big clients out here? It's a shame that even Doug Hawkins would put out some type of quote against the Flea Market...

  16. Explain how a councilman can keep a flea market from opening. They can't. All they can do is meet with the developer and relay what the residents actually want. In this case, they seem to want the flea market.

    This is not a political problem. Vote with your wallets. Shop elsewhere.

  17. "Vote with your wallets. Shop elsewhere. "

    As far as I can tell, there's not much choice but to shop elsewhere. I shop Lowes, Home Depot, Kroger, Meijer, Staples, and Knapp's. That's it. If I want to go to Target, I go to the one at Jefferson Mall.

  18. My theory is, we need nicer shopping stores in the SW end of town like we used to have ie Bacon's/Dillard's, JC Penney, etc... If they would put a Kohl's in, bring Wick's back to the south end, revamp the complex where they are talking about putting the flea market in, I bet that there would be more jobs there. Close down some of the check cashing places, and add other businesses, nicer restaurants, etc...

  19. If everyone who lives in the Southwestern end of town, Portland, Shivley, PRP, Valley Station, Fairdale, Beechmont, would stop spending their money for just one week at Kohl's Penney's, Macy's, Dillards. I think they would finally see the impact of the monies we who live in South Western Jefferson county have to spend! I stopped shopping at Kohl's after they refused to open a store in the old Bacon's/Dillards location. This was a prime spot for Kohls to open a store. I feel they spit in the faces of all of us who live out here!

  20. Kohls will tell you the same thing they told Shively's Mayor (Sherry Connor) that this end of town isnt their kind of clientele.

    Face it, no one gives two shits about the South End. And for the record, I'm a life long resident of Shively.

  21. We are alsolosing businesses.Because of the higher rent at the valley complex we will be losing the Hallmark store at the end of July. Maybe we can squeeze another check cashing place in there.It would be nice to get some nicer palces out here and keep the better ones. We will be also losing the post office in Valley soon.