What Businesses Would You Like to See in Downtown Trenton?

Downtown Trenton has a number of vacant spaces up for lease. What businesses do you think should move in?

From the old Raymond & Co. Photography storefront to the giant empty building next to , Downtown Trenton has a number of vacant spaces waiting to be filled.

said Downtown Trenton needs a destination business like Trader Joe's to bring more traffic to the area.

Jeff Cada of said the best businesses in the area are places that provide necessities like doctors' and dentists' offices, banks, barbershops and hair salons.

What we want to know is: What businesses would you like to see in Downtown Trenton?

A sports bar? A posh sushi spot? Trader Joe's?

You tell us, Trenton.

Lori Holcomb March 29, 2012 at 11:44 AM
Trader Joes would be awesome...some kind of cool deli or Subway restuarant...an "all age" friendly coffe shop
John G Martin March 29, 2012 at 11:59 AM
The chances of a Trader Joe's coming to downtown Trenton are as likely Newt voting for Obama in November. Get real. The city of Trenton has had experts reviewing the needs of the downtown area and been given recommendations. 20 years after the fire that finished off the Mulias Department Store they are still wandering around in the dark. The best that can ever happen is that small business owners that don't depend on leg traffic take over the empty spaces. NOBODY in city hall is interested in making downtown Trenton a destination point. To be a destination point involves a lot of work and planning. There are just too many fires to put out in the city to seriously address the downtown area.
Christine C. March 29, 2012 at 12:12 PM
Trader joes would be awesome. However, I doubt that the layout downtown is one that could support a trader joes. No parking pretty much anywhere for any higher traffic business. Downtown planning needs to take s look at Wyandotte and take a page out of their book. Such a huge difference. Day stores, restaurants, night life. I understand there are other issues in the city. But what a wasted area. Maybe if the time was taken to enhance downtown and give people a good reason to head down there, other things in the city would work themselves out. From what I've heard and experience, the city does not make it easy to rent or buy a space whether it's a business or a home.
Nate Stemen (Editor) March 29, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Thanks for the responses, so far. We've heard a lot about what won't work. Let's talk about some businesses you think would do well in Downtown Trenton. I like the idea for a Subway or Deli. Sandwich shops are immensely popular right now. This idea has the potential to bring in a lot of traffic. What else do you think would work?
Susan Wilson March 29, 2012 at 12:57 PM
A college, if the old Riverside Hospital deal falls through and it ends up back in Henry Ford's hands again, I'd like to see it turned into and Henry Ford South college unit, not only would it provide a lot more traffic in the area, it would also provide a more convenient way of getting a college education for our area's residents. For example: Was looking into becoming a cardiovascular ultrasound technician, the closest place to get this education is Auburn Hills, this is a brand new medical diagnostic tool career of the future and Wayne County Community College does not offer this. Not to mention, the things they offer, to complete the courses, you are traveling in between to four different colleges, it's very inconvenient. I'd like to see Trenton become a sidewalk community in the future, from West Jefferson, all the way up West Road. What would be really great is if it was done by area residents! Coffee shops, restaurants, and yes, nightlife, we definitely need nightlife! This city basically clears out after 9pm. The old McClouth Steel area cleaned up and detoxed, could also be something great, maybe a casino, a marina, hotels and shops, golf course, a place to visit, could bring a lot of revenue to our area, not to mention the jobs it could offer. Clean up the other side of the street too, restaurants, nightlife, I'd love to see this community grow. We need to cater to the younger people, they are our future. Susie
Kathye Quirk March 29, 2012 at 01:22 PM
I would love to see a sushi restaurant like Crave in Dearborn. They have superior food and nightlife. Trenton needs more healthy eating options and more al fresco dining like they have along Main Street in Ann Arbor.
Sarah Altgelt March 29, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Trader Joe's WOULD be awesome! I know that the spaces downtown are on the smaller side and parking would be non-existent for these kinds of places, but I would love to see healthier fare Downriver, like a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods market. For some reason, however, it seems that Downriver is often over-looked when it comes to these kinds of specialty markets. What about a Jimmy John's?! Christine C is absolutely correct...Trenton ought to take a page out of Wyandotte's book.
Mary Beth Revesz March 29, 2012 at 01:44 PM
I would love a Trader Joe's, but there would have to be some accommodations for parking. I would love some more restaurants and even a Starbucks.
Becky Whyte March 29, 2012 at 01:50 PM
I spent my whole life in Trenton and a few years in Seattle, Wa. In the every small neighborhood with NO parking, Trader Joe's was our only grocery. I think the Trenton/GI/Brownstown folks would love the prices & philosophies of healthy grocer. I am team Trader Joe's. Let's start a committee! Also, I am a huge fan of bring fresh blood into our downtown area. My husband and I are in our late 20s/early 30s and we don't have children. Everything in Trenton focuses on children/teens and older folks. A fine tavern, a sushi bar, a upscale martini bar, health food store would be awesome. We have to travel WAY out of town for any of these services.
michelle March 29, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Oh I love Crave. Its not just a regular sushi place. Great food and atmosphere. Something that really stands out like that would be great. Also a coffee shop where people could hang out and chat, something to keep people in the area longer then to just pass through. Maybe something fun and family oriented.
Dennis Buza March 29, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Nate: The contributors have submitted many creative ideas. I especially like the thought of a Satellite community college. But lets face it I have lived in this community for almost 30 years and folks unlike Wyandotte we don't have an attractive riverfront to attract out of towners. The essential fact is that most Downriver residents, even those with college degrees, have a blue collar mentality and will not support martini bars, whole food markets, etc. Look at Grosse Ile, populated by zillionaires. Their downtown possibly by design features none of the upscale eateries and shopping venues so dear to some of the Patch readers. Like Mr. Cada, I feel businesses that require no foot traffic for sustenance such as Insurance offices (I can think of at least four on West Road alone), doctor's and dentist offices, veternarians, and rehab centers could thrive. On the other hand restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores and the like would soon join the laundry list of failed downtown enterprises. Finally, has anyone really stopped and looked at the age and disrepair of some of these available buildings. It would take a serious dollar investment to rehab and upgrade both the interior and exterior of these buildings. I regret that I too am cynical of the ability of the DDA to assist downtown from being stuck in a virtual 1960's time warp.
Susan Wilson March 30, 2012 at 03:09 AM
Exactly Dennis, we have two, very big properties that are not being used but need cleaning up. We have the Vulcan Mold plant on Fort Street and then the McClouth Steel plant just sitting there, rotting, molding....are there any funds out there to clean up these properties? Who owns them? What can be done with the eyesores? How can we make it into a beautiful piece of property? I've heard about a group of scientists cleaning up old polluted lands in Buffalo with oxygen. I would love to see a small casino, maybe some shops, a golf course, maybe a hotel on that property and maybe build shops on the other side of the street too. Another idea is to build some affordable condos like Brownstown has, to bring in the younger families, we need kids. We also need a nightlife, something to bring people into Trenton.
Chris March 30, 2012 at 02:18 PM
As a current business owner downtown Trenton I would like to comment on some of the responses above. I too heard that the City of Trenton would be very difficult to deal with when I started my business. However having gone through the process of opening a business I can say without question that statement is no longer true. I could not have asked for a more welcoming group of people all who were willing to help me get off to a good start. As a restaurant owner downtown I also believe that another restaurant would be great downtown, nightlife and a coffee bar are all excellent choices. But most of all we need foot traffic, and I believe to get that we need to add professionals down here. I am hopeful that the Old Riverside project comes to fruition. People often compare us to downtown Wyandotte and only refer to their immediate downtown, but what helps Wyandotte immensely is their professional footprint. A Hospital, BASF, Marinas, Boating, Insurance company all help bring an awful lot of people to the area. I have often said and firmly believe that with the right plan and foresight the old Mclouth Steel site could be converted into the jewel of Downriver. A Marina, a casino, a hotel, housing, retail are all possible at that site and being directly on the river makes it a grand slam. Chris Hancock Round House BBQ
Kathye Quirk March 30, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Please, no casino. Let's have a place where anyone can go for entertainment, not just smokers. Casinos didn't save Detroit and they aren't the answer for Downriver. Royal Oak manages to stay lively without a waterfront or a casino. The college idea is great.
Kyle Stack March 30, 2012 at 03:29 PM
I have read your ideas positive and negative and want you to know it is being absorbed to improve upon our community! Don't think that we are sitting on our heels at the City of Trenton. My staff and I have met with quite a few different people and companies and we are ready to make a difference in this community. I need the people that can share their business expertise with people that would love to start a business, I need people that can recommend businesses to us that are destination type businesses. The day of having box stores in our community is pretty well over. So don't give up on us (City of Trenton)! We are moving and looking for grants and positive things to make this town exciting! Will you be part of the solution and picture? I challenge you!
Kyle Stack March 30, 2012 at 03:32 PM
One last comment, I had a meeting with Jim DeSana, when he was Mayor of Wyandotte (several years ago) and he informed me that a parking problem is always a great problem to have when it comes to having a downtown that is viable!
Kyle Stack March 30, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Remember, we have more than just downtown with spaces to fill, so we are looking at the grand picture and Trader Joe's could be outside the downtown.
Leah Derby March 30, 2012 at 03:35 PM
I would love a coffee house. my son will soon be a teenager and i would like to see some places he can "hang out" at without having to leave the city (and i could drive by and surreptitiously check on his where-abouts)
Leah Derby March 30, 2012 at 03:44 PM
a knitting/crocheting shop, art supply retailer like dick blick...is it possible to invite some of the outlying stores/restaurants/shops such as those on King near Grange to move to the downtown? Carlo and Joe's would probably do even better in a more prominent spot (they already do great in my book) as would Nibo's.
Mary Beth Revesz March 30, 2012 at 03:58 PM
I would take a Trader Joes anywhere in Trenton!
Leah Derby March 30, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Trader Joe's are really great stores, but simply too corporate. they're just a fancy and healthy Kroger. We have Trentwood right there on West Rd...They just need to visit Trader Joe's and Whole Foods and make a few changes.
Susan Wilson March 30, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Exactly...I agree. It would also bring people to the area and they would spend money enjoying themselves, and in the summer, it could bring people from everywhere! To be honest, I would rather visit a smaller casino down here than go all the way to Detroit and all the boat traffic in the summer would be great if there was a small marina there as well. Most of all....jobs!
Marissa March 31, 2012 at 04:49 PM
A hip and up-to-date Coffee lounge!
Mack March 31, 2012 at 11:29 PM
Wyandotte has quite a few vacancies right now, but Trenton has had them for years. My wife and I have lived here 25 years. This is a GREAT town. A Trader Joes would be a good start; the one in Grosse Pointe is a drawing point for citizens to shop in the area.
Mack March 31, 2012 at 11:31 PM
We had a coffee shop that failed miserably (although it was a landlord issue); we've had a variety of small business' try to find a niche. It has always seemed to me Trenton has wanted to remain the Mayberry RFD of this area. It would be great to bring some corp entities downtown; they would help pull other business in. But I look at The Grand, which has had 6(??) owners in 10 years. I think Trenton needs to offer incentives, like Wyandotte has in the past
Elida Southlea April 04, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Love the Trader Joe's idea. I moved here from the Grosse Pointe area and miss having a really nice grocer so close. The downtown Trenton area reminds me of Grosse Pointe and I really think this could work well. I hope someone from Trader Joe's see all this postive feedback!! E. Southlea
Erika Korowin April 04, 2012 at 10:00 PM
I agree with Becky Whyte (Go THS '98!) Downtown Trenton needs some energy. A nice tavern/brewery of some kind with some little restaurants - "gourmet" pizza place perhaps? - would be a good start. I can appreciate the comments about a skilled nursing center, a craft store, etc., but I really don't think that that will draw the kind of business or crowds (and money, let's be honest) that Trenton so desperately needs. Trenton has the perfect spring, summer, (and even part of fall) weather for outdoor seating and hanging out for people of all ages. I also appreciate the comments about more "blue collar" bars and I completely agree. A place doesn't have to be fancy. If it has a relaxed and fun atmosphere and good, simple food and drink, people will happily go, especially if it's in their backyard. There is so much potential in Downtown Trenton! I currently live in Northern Virginia and have lived in several places with great downtowns (and those that getting there, like Tucson). It CAN be done, even in a city of Trenton's size. I urge Trenton's City Council to take a look at some successful downtown revitalization projects throughout the country.
Paul S May 26, 2012 at 04:29 PM
I agree with Erika. I think a bar would do well in Trenton. I would like to see the focus of the bar to be on the great Michigan microbrews that are available. Founder's, Short's, Bell's, Arcadia and Dark Horse to name a few. The Oak cafe in Wyandotte is a great example of a tavern that I think it succeed in Downtown Trenton.
Suzanne June 04, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Shoemaker!!!!! The closest "old-fashioned" shoemaker is in Lincoln Park and one in Dearborn Heights/Taylor.


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