With the holiday season in full swing, Mount Kisco's Board of Trustees met with a group of East Main Street businesses on Tuesday to discuss what they can do to help.
Merchants were also given an opportunity to discuss their concerns about what should be looked into.
One notable item discussed is that businesses will benefit in December with the introduction of free parking, sponsored by the Mount Kisco Chamber of Commerce. It will include both Shopper's Park and the Village Centre Lot, from Dec. 12 to Jan. 1. Meter time limits will still be enforced, however, and parking enforcement will run chalk along car tires to keep track of the time. A clear description of the time limits being enforceable is something that the village wanted to have to make sure that the service is not abused by folks looking to park for commuting purposes.
Philip Bronzi, the chamber's president, was among those at the meeting. He would like to see ways to help retail merchants, and expressed interest in forming a retail committee within the chamber as one way to help out.
“With all the things we do, we do need involvement," he said about participation in the chamber. Additionally, Bronzi talked about having ways to pay for holiday season items, such as decorations. At the chamber's annual holiday event last night, a 50-50 raffle was held to help with this.
Borders Loss Hurts
Perhaps the biggest upheaval to have happened on East Main Street is the September closure of . An anchor tenant for the corridor, the book store's demise has led to a decline in foot traffic, merchants reported.
“Obviously it left a big, empty space in town, so there’s less people coming through town," said Leslie Bijoux, owner of .
“We do see a difference," said Fran Albanese, who owns and whose husband, Isi, owns . The drop has affected Bellizzi, especially in the case on weekends and night time, she explained. Despite this, however, Frannie's has been able to keep strong foot traffic.
The vacancy poses a challenge in attracting new businesses to the area, explained Mayor Michael Cindrich.
“The thing is, we have to continue to attract new businesses and not necessarily big corporate businesses," he said, adding that it is hard to do with the large amount of square feet in a spot like that.
Cindrich has reached out to the landlord to see what could fill the space, which is 21,500 square feet. The mayor brought up the idea of having an Apple Store, and options such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe's were brought up as hypotheticals. The landlord, Mt. Kisco Associates, LP, is still searching for a new tenant and does not have a deal. Personally, Cindrich stated that he would like to see something high end move in and attract people.
owner Cathy Deutsch talked about the positives that the area has and about moving forward, encouraging support of the merchants.
Quality of Life and Signage
Merchants also discussed what can be done to improve the cleanliness on East Main Street.
“The cleanliness of Main Street is really sub par," said Deutsch.
Cindrich explained that there is a shortage of manpower because of recent storm damage. More generally, he also noted that parked vehicles can hinder operation of a street sweeper.
“The issue is right now, we’re overwhelmed right now," he said. He added that the village would look into it and see what can be done.
Robert Brache, co-owner of , suggested that planters along the the street could be maintained by having five merchants pay per planter's cost.
Another items raised was allowing for more visible promotions, such as sandwich boards of clothing racks, which are limited by the village code.
“Makes a huge difference," Bijoux said.