What Do You Wish Was Here?

There are some empty spaces, vacant lots and occasionally a few abandoned shops around town. This new feature gives you a chance to chime in on what you'd like to see in place of the open space—if anything at all.

Sonoma's downtown is a bustling area with a tightly-packed retail space – but in recent years vacancies have plagued the Plaza.

There are several empty storefronts along Broadway, at 401 West Napa and this Plaza storefront, pictured at right, has been vacant for about a year.

So, what would you like see in this space?

The idea was inspired by Candy Chang from New Orleans, who in 2010 created "I wish this was" stickers and placed thousands around the city for residents to fill in the blanks.

In San Francisco the Art in Storefronts project commissions up and coming visual artists to create public art in empty storefronts, maybe we could make something like that happen in Sonoma. Or maybe you think this would be the perfect spot for Pets' Lifeline's holiday boutique. Or maybe you really want a bowling alley, or a barbershop, or a really .

Sarah October 06, 2011 at 08:01 PM
I think that the square needs something that not based on tourists but for locals as well. How about something that is for the community and helps either children in need or an outreach program for people who need help in the form of counseling or job guidance because of the current job market. Basically something that is for the community that we all love.
Alexis Fitts October 07, 2011 at 01:24 AM
Thanks for the comment Sarah. I like the idea!
julia@juliakatrine.com October 07, 2011 at 02:52 PM
How about a cupcake shop? They are popping up everywhere but Sonoma, and are so pretty and tasty at the same time. That would open up the possibility for a good cup of coffee on the square too! If you're looking for a great cheese shop on the square, check out the one down the alley next to Sonoma Wine Shop - yum!
Dee Baucher October 07, 2011 at 11:21 PM
There's already a great bakery on the plaza, a cheese store, various clothes and gift stores, ice cream store, wine stores, and art stores. The rents along the plaza are so high, its hard to imagine that a non-profit would be able to sustain itself there. (Other than the Church Mouse.) The cupcakes might work, but its hard to imagine that cupcakes will represent a longstanding demand, rather than a temporary (in-fashion) commodity. Perhaps preserves, or canned goods, produced from locally grown farm products, would make attractive items for tourists to purchase. In the past, locally produced sausage was sold from that storefront, and I believe they had a strong business for a significant time.
Michael James October 10, 2011 at 03:53 PM
Community. Other than the local bars there is no place after 6:00 (4:00 now that Jim Hahn has dropped his closing time to that hour) for locals -and tourists welcome - to get coffee/tea, light food, sit and talk, read, enjoy quiet music, meet new people and socialize. HIgh rent is a challenge yet I wonder how much income the owners of vacant properties lose when the places sit vacant for months...even years. Some paradigm shifting, outside the box and pushing the outside of the envelope thinking should meet the challenges.
Michael James October 10, 2011 at 03:55 PM
Apologies to the EDK's efforts to stay open till 9:00 !
Dorothy March 23, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Dee's idea of a place to buy preserves or canned goods from local farms is one htat I second!!! It would serve locals, but also tourists.


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