Feedback on retail, restaurant and other new development needed
Rarely a day goes by that I don’t hear someone say “I wish Gig Harbor had a (blank) store”. Although our community is not so little anymore it does still seem to be missing a few retail and dining options which would fill in the blanks. Given that our tax rate is lower in Gig Harbor than in Tacoma, and that our wish is to keep our residents shopping local, pinpointing the missing links might help local developers.
Kohl’s Department Store has broken ground in the new Safeway Shopping Center, and this is an exciting development for Gig Harbor. The new Kohl’s, officially a department store, is unlike anything else Gig Harbor has yet seen. It is a game-changer.
I have recently had conversations with local developers and leasing agents who are working towards getting that perfect fit for Gig Harbor with additional new retail and restaurants. As a city employee, I’m often aware of what new stores are coming to the harbor, but rarely in a position to announce that information until developers say “go”. But this time, developers are looking to me to help ask the question of you our residents “what do you want?”
In preparation for writing this piece, I randomly asked a dozen locals to tell me what they feel is missing in the harbor for retail and restaurant. The answers and input I received was thoughtful, passionate and in some cases, surprising. Here’s what I heard;
Downtown – a kitchen supply store, a grocery store, craft store, Dukes Restaurant, boutique hotel (McMenamins?) and businesses that stay open later.
Uptown and All-Around Town – a craft supply store, a paper store, a fabric store, restaurants with affordable and fun atmosphere and bar, a Pizza & Pipes style restaurant for food and entertainment, Nordstrom Rack, Home Goods, Stein Mart, Kirkland’s, Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn. A cupcake store, a party supply store, a bowling alley, Chick fila, Boca De Beppo, organic food store, REI, Lulu Lemon, Lush, shoe repair and a Mandolin Coffee.
One respondent felt strongly that we need a community center that was not membership based where kids and families could enjoy bowling, swimming and wave pool and perhaps pizza too. She also suggested a sports complex with lighted fields, covered basketball courts, batting cage and more. A bowling alley came up multiple times.
Another respondent promoted the idea of a performing arts center, conference or convention center or indoor event center.
That is what we heard, by only asking a hand full of people. ..so what do you want in Gig Harbor? Send me your thoughts and realistic ideas and I will share them. Keeping in mind what we already have, our city’s square footage restrictions and our communities desire to retain our identity. This is obviously an unofficial poll, but it could prove helpful to the developers already working in the community.
I’m certainly aware that many people don’t want anything more in Gig Harbor and I expect to hear from some of you too. I welcome that input and will also share it with the developers. Just keep it civil, clean and nice. Because, we are, after all, Gig Harbor (named one of the best small towns in America by Smithsonian Magazine)!