New in Town
One of the neat things about a vibrant business district is that there’s always demand for additional businesses. So, welcome to the new kids on the block.
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When Cari Woolf decided to open Moxie Boutique, a funky, high-end women’s clothing shop, she looked at locations in Greenville and Wilmington. But she chose downtown Newark.
“I wanted to appeal to college students—that’s the fun stuff,” she says of her cutting-edge clothing. “We’ve become popular with the sorority girls.”
Moxie Boutique (48 E. Main St., 456-1300, moxiede.com) carries such lines as BCBGeneration, Max and Cleo, M M Couture by Miss Me and Charlie Jade.
Moxie Boutique is in good company. At a time when vacant storefronts are common sights, space is still a premium in Newark, whose downtown section includes busy Main Street and Elkton Road.
“Downtown Newark boasts one of the lowest vacancy rates in the country at 3.77 percent compared to the national average of 8.2 percent,” says Roy H. Lopata, planning and development director for the city of Newark and chairman of the Downtown Newark Partnership economic enhancement committee. “Considering the local impact of the Great Recession, our downtown vacancy rate is quite remarkable.”
Like Woolf, some businesses benefit from university students, staff and faculty. Most also attract residents from the surrounding neighborhoods and fellow businesspeople. The downtown district’s unique shops and restaurants have also made Newark a destination for regional folks seeking an afternoon or day excursion.
The city’s location—just off I-95 and near Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey—is a major draw for businesses opening second locations. Take Claymont Steak Shop, for instance. A fixture for 45 years in North Wilmington, Claymont Steak is a mecca for cheesesteak aficionados. “They travel from Newark, Bear and Dover,” says owner Demi Kollias, whose uncle started the business.
To cut traveling time and attract new customers, Claymont Steak Shop in January 2010 opened a Newark location (57 Elkton Road, 453-9500, claymontsteakshop.com). The 4,000-square-foot restaurant, situated near Amstel Avenue, benefits from its proximity to Main Street. At the same time, the site offers less traffic so delivery drivers can speed away to customer locations and customers can dash in for takeout.
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